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Automation or data export on old systems (IBM AS/400)

Situation with an old system

Are you still using these old systems at work with displays commonly black and green as in the picture above? On our side, we do encounter these screens quiet often and most of the cases we encounter are IBM systems that are often nicknamed AS/400 or Mainframe application. The problem with these is that they are very old (~30 to 40 years), therefore often difficult to maintain (mainly due to a lack of qualified people and compatibility) or that the software publishers no longer provide support. The big fear is that during a necessary update, everything stops working while you still depend on it or you can’t make it communicate with your other systems.

The cases we have encountered use it for the management of insurance contracts, loans or bank account management. Theses uses can be put in 3 categories:

  1. As a primary work tool (staff still work directly on it)
  2. As a secondary tool for specific cases (only a part of the staff uses the software)
  3. Or as an archive tool for old contracts that are still to expire (no new data is inserted in the system)

What is very interesting is that, no matter what category and how old the system is, it is possible to apply new automation tools such as RPA (robotic process automation = virtual assistant) to automate your tasks on it (or to export the data). The new meets the old and works!

Demonstration of data export with RPA

In this demonstration, we use RPA to automate the extraction of customer and it’s account information from a dummy bank system, along with their risk level. All data is invented. The starting point is an Excel file containing a list of customers and their unique identifiers. What you see below in the video is an excerpt of how the virtual assistant (the RPA) works. At the end the result of the export will be visible in an Excel.

Automation possibilities

Now think about what tasks you or your colleagues regularly perform on a similar systems. It has become a habit. But what about being able to automate the most tedious tasks?

Here are some examples of tasks that can be automated with this type of legacy system and RPA:

  • Life insurance policy migration (100’000+ policies and details to be exported)
  • Update of the health insurance policy in the AS400 following a change in the CRM
  • Archiving of object insurance contracts
  • Search and display of customer information to shorten the average time of a call to the call center

How can you take advantage of it?

If you are not really familiar with RPA, it is best to start with a simple pilot project. To give you an idea, count on a budget of about 18’000CHF for automating the export of some data.

With RPA projects, the requirements are often similar:

  • The process clearly defined, ideally documented
  • Access to your working environment and installation of the RPA tool
  • A trial license to test
  • Your automation expert

Do you want to know more? Contact us! We will be happy to talk to you.