Top Airline Exposes Mainframe and Executes Agile Development with Ivory Service Architect

by | Sep 23, 2019

Agile is widely considered the gold standard of modern software development methodology. Since it can help teams deliver products and value more quickly and with higher quality, it should be no surprise that nearly all modern development incorporates at least some Agile principles. But Agile’s iterative approach can be extremely challenging if the technology environment includes legacy systems that don’t facilitate real-time access to data and applications.

An all-too-common example is the mainframe computer. Mainframes were not designed to interact with external systems, and organizations that use them as their system of record are often faced with extremely long, waterfall-based development cycles. These long timelines add complexity and cost to projects and can stifle innovation.

Following a merger that required massive systems integrations, one large US airline decided to move aircraft maintenance from a manual paper and green screen-based process to one that allows for real-time interaction with their legacy mainframe computers. The new system would not only equip technicians with fully connected tablets but would provide better visibility into team productivity and facilitate faster gate turnaround to improve on-time performance.

They realized, however, that enabling the mainframe for mobile real-time access was an extremely complicated task. After evaluating their options, they discovered that GT Software’s Ivory Service Architect would not only enable the real-time mainframe integration their teams needed but would do so through a no-code, drag-and-drop interface that greatly improves the productivity of their development resources.

In addition, Ivory would allow them to fully implement an Agile development approach across their architecture, including the mainframe. Without this updated development methodology, the airline would have been stuck with prohibitively long waterfall enhancement cycles and unsupported business processes on the mainframe that would not have aligned with mobile application development.

 The airline decided that one of the keys to modernizing its development practices was to expose the mainframe to development and QA teams. With the help of Ivory, the airline was over time able to transform its product development structure and processes into a typical agile construct. Their infrastructure groups now create user stories that illustrate the business value and define requirements, and the UI, System Design, and Dev teams are able to execute them in a constantly iterative way.

In effect, the modernization brought into the environment with Ivory not only improved the technical performance of the systems being developed, but also the functional performance of the development teams. With Ivory, teams get feedback on the end-to-end performance of the application more quickly and thus can apply Agile principles and the decision-making processes to act on that feedback.

Previously, this was not possible because of the technical “silos” that existed between mobile development teams and the owners of the mainframe environment. These silos limited the team’s ability to gauge the quality and performance of the features being developed, especially in the early phases of the development process.

Click here to learn more about how the airline achieved success through the implementation of Ivory.