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Top tier Consultancy designs modernization of a ‘black-box’ core mainframe application in under a month

Top tier Consultancy

Consultancy is one of the top multinational professional services firms, operating on all continents. The client is a leading freight operations company in North America.

CAST Imaging enabled the consultancy firm to automatically decipher an intricate legacy application of more than three decades to build a secure modernization roadmap in less than a month.

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Top tier Consultancy

We have had the taste of the drug and now we are hooked!

Client’s Program Manager

11 million

line of code including Natural, Cobol, JCL, DB2 and Adabas

Full spectrum

of insights from bird’s eye view down to the finest details


The client, dealing with a complex IT environment shaped by over three decades of developing legacy systems and numerous acquisitions, needs to create a solid business case for digital transformation, primarily targeting their Mainframe system.

The application is vital for freight handling, characterized by a monolithic architecture made of 11 million lines of code, mostly in Natural and Adabas, and a datastore with over 100 schemas and 7,500 tables, supplemented by components in Cobol, JCL, and DB2. This intricate setup ultimately renders the application a 'black-box', challenging to decipher and modify.

To embark on this transformation and develop a detailed multi-year roadmap, they have enlisted the expertise of a leading global consultancy firm.


The Consultancy firm proposed a 12-week engagement divided into three phases the project began with the prioritization phase, profiling 21 legacy systems and uncovering the architecture of the core system.

This was followed by the blueprinting phase, focusing on risk reduction and planning transitional states, with special attention to the project's initial increment. The final phase involved operationalization and establishing a new operating model.

Key to this process was leveraging CAST Imaging for reverse-engineering the 'black-box’ core system, revealing its complex interdependencies and Adabas schemas, and utilizing a customized CAST “community extension” tailored to the unique patterns of the core application.


A critical step in the technical transformation program was revealing and comprehensively understanding the application, essential for all subsequent efforts.

Designed for risk management and value creation, the program aimed to optimize Opex and Capex through structured architecture and system decoupling.

A six-month roadmap initiated the program and its first iteration. CAST Imaging, central to this phase, enhanced budget optimization and provided solid design rationales, crucial given the client's limited legacy system knowledge.

This deep application understanding increased the client's confidence, leading to CAST Imaging's adoption for their wider modernization journey, affirming the engagement's value.