MFP Services and its IT economic interest group Chorégie launch a new secure and user-friendly web portal, designed to improve the quality of the services they provide. This successful technical project makes it possible to dynamically retrieve DB2 data by establishing a communication between different environments, thanks to a mainframe middleware.
Services for millions of beneficiaries
Wishing to improve the quality of the services provided to its members, partners, employees, and elected officials, MFP Services and Chorégie launch a new web portal (“Santé Pratique”) which goal is to improve access to information and to incorporate new services (real-time payment tracking, electronic statements, policy holders’ files lookup, etc.).
From a technological point of view, it is crucial to query the DB2 database associated with the CICS application from the new web platform, using standard and scalable technologies. Chorégie also wants to have an identity management service on the new web portal, based on its LDAP directory, in order to simplify and customize user profiles management. To implement this project and develop the web portal, Chorégie uses the IBM WebSphere Portal for iSeries solution, as well as existing components in a COBOL CICS application residing on a z/OS 1.8 machine. The two environments must be able to communicate using standard technologies, to ensure the sustainability and scalability of the portal. For this purpose, Chorégie choses a solution able to dynamically generate web services from the mainframe application, without any modification or redistribution.
A simple and fast implementation
The chosen solution combines VTAM relay functions with an HTTP server. Directly installed on the z/OS platform, the solution uses existing CICS transactions to access the DB2 data and establishes a dialogue with WebSphere Portal for iSeries. The whole setup is based on HTTP and XML market standards, using a secure URL. The solution can then provide mainframe data in real time, eliminating any dependencies between the web portal and the mainframe application while allowing full latitude for ultimately moving toward the target architecture.
Setting up the solution only took a day and a half for training and handover to the mainframe team, time enough to become fully independent and easily set up the needed web services. No double mainframe/web skills were needed, the technical scope of every team is respected.
Greater responsiveness and better-performing technology
The solution implementation is very quick, meeting all the specified requirements (deadlines, technology, and budget). Setting up this interactive portal now allows MFP Services to improve the quality of its services and to be much more responsive in addressing the needs of its customers. Thanks to the technological choices that were made, MFP can also comply to regulatory and institutional changes more quickly and be more responsive in making those changes available to policy holders.