Licence to print legacy documents

There’s a problem many large organizations face today: No one wants to get rid of legacy IT systems, which creates a desperate need to upgrade the tools they work with. For Scotiabank, it was time to standardize on network printers that could serve both its legacy AS/400 mainframe systems and its

Windows platforms.

About 18 months ago Scotiabank went to market with a bank-wide request for proposal to choose a printer vendor that would be able to handle two very different environments within the organization. One is the bank branches that run on legacy mainframe systems. The other is the distributed environment within the rest of Scotiabank that is more Intel-based. After reviewing several vendors, Lexmark emerged as the vendor that could support the bank’s multiple connection requirements.

“”We’ve been running Lexmark for some time, in the branch specifically for about eight to 10 years. Now we’re running Lexmark in the distributed and branch environments,”” said Charles Casola, team leader, technology image management at Scotiabank in Toronto.

Scotiabank first began looking at printing from both mainframe and Windows applications back in 1997. As with most major companies, the bank had a large line printer in the basement and distributed the printed paper product throughout the organization through a mailroom.

Used adapters for the legacy apps

Although the bank had been a Lexmark customer for many years, Casola said ultimately the decision to choose its printers came down to three factors.

“”The first was pricing. Lexmark was very competitive. Second was support; in the existing relationship we are very comfortable with the support Lexmark was able to offer the bank. And thirdly, from a global perspective, they were able to meet — from a logistics standpoint — all of our markets with consistent products,”” he said.

Scotiabank recently rolled out 2,200 printers to branches as part of the refresh. Casola estimates the overall investment with Lexmark to be between $6 and $10 million.

If the bank had not found a vendor that could serve both its legacy and newer systems, Casola said a major investment in re-working back-end systems would have been required.

“”In the branch environment, the cost differential would have been more on the back-end in terms of having to re-write a lot of code. It would have been in the millions. Lexmark were not only able to provide a printing solution for our Intel-based computing systems in the distributed world, but also the same machinery with some tweaking obviously, was able to be deployed in our branches as well,”” he said.

By using printers from Lexmark that feature COAX/Twinax adapters for legacy mainframe applications, Scotiabank continues to use its proprietary banking applications and go forward with new ones.

“”There are quite a few large corporations still using their mainframe applications or they haven’t converted their data streams over to TCP/IP or PCLprinting,”” said Lee Niven, product manager of printing solutions and services division with Lexmark in Toronto. “”Scotiabank looked at the business case and decided it was worth going with newer hardware so they could support both their Windows and mainframe applications today.””

Casola said the mainframe systems are still the guts of the domestic branch operation and the bank was in no position to change its back-end system.

“”Our mainframe systems aren’t going away any time soon,”” said Casola. “”From a branch perspective, we really had no choice than to make a print solution work with our mainframe environment. I guess we were somewhat fortunate that what Lexmark had to offer was a good fit, otherwise ultimately what we would have had to look at was either add another vendor or re-write some application in code, which could have been a sizeable investment.””

For the most part, Casola said the move to Lexmark hardware across the Scotiabank enterprise was relatively problem free.

“”There were a couple of areas in the bank that used alternate vendors, but we worked together with Lexmark to provide demo products and evaluation units and they quickly came aboard. It was a relatively painless transition.””

Scotiabank also worked with IBM Global services during the transition to Lexmark.

“”Indirectly, Lexmark has a lot of experience in the legacy market. which they brought with them when they separated from IBM,”” Casola said.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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