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General background

The "ULIS technical debt reduction" project is a technical migration project from VB6 to .Net - C#/WPF of the Generali Claims Management Software. It is therefore a critical project in two respects:

  • Functionally, the application is the core of Generali's business. A major malfunction is not acceptable.
  • Technically, the gap to be filled is very wide. The source and target technologies are different in every respect. In addition, the application size is large (220 screens, half a million lines of code).

Expectations of the project

  • Perfect functional equivalence
  • Use of WPF for User Interface
  • Significant performance improvements
  • Improved Application Security
  • Improved Mainframe Integration

Solution

The combination of the large size of the application and the aggressive time constraints has made an industrial-strength approach essential. Very few such solutions are available on the market for migration from VB6 to C# and they all target WinForms. There is no native solution for WPF. After an in-depth study, we selected the tool gmStudio from Great Migration because :

  • gmStudio seemed to be the most powerful and the most customizable tool on the market.
  • gmStudio provides a C# API so that we can work only with tool and context we are comfortable and efficient with.
  • GM is very strong with support and very competitive in terms of price.
  • GM is a Microsoft partner.

GM provided around 85% of the delivered code; 5% was manually rewritten for technical reasons; another 5% is a base WPF controls framework intended to ease the migration by reducing the gap between VB6 and WPF;  the remaining 5% is the manual finishing.

Progress of the project

The project had a difficult start. In particular, reaching the required skill with the tool in-house took longer than expected. But the choice is paying off, and the delay has been completely made up, largely thanks to the power of the migration tool as well as the very strong involvement of GM with our Project Team. We are nearing the end of the project and are now 3 weeks ahead of schedule.  An effort remains to be made on quality (reduction of the number of defects) and performance.

Final delivery is expected in January 2019.

Conclusion

The promises were kept. The tool is indeed very powerful even if the learning curve is sharp. In particular, the gmslAPI for C# could be much simplified. But it works and does the job. gmStudio is a bit like a Ferrari: very fast and powerful but also demanding. But beyond the tool (which was absolutely essential to the project achievement),  we want publicly to thank GM for its high involvement, not only during the initial two-week training on site but all through the year.

 

Patrice Ongla

HighTechValue, Senior Solution Architect and Project Manager


http://www.hightechvalue.com/

 

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