IRD seeks mainframe support

Cobol-based legacy application will not be replaced any time soon

The Inland Revenue Department has decided that for the foreseeable future its core First application will continue to run on the Unisys Clearpath mainframe platform, but that a phased programme of technology renewal will take place over time to better meet the needs of business transformation.

To support the transformation programme, there are plans to transform IT infrastructure operations to a lights-out, on-demand, fully-managed services model with an overall reduced total cost of ownership, the department says.

It has issued a registration of interest, seeking a supplier with the capability to provide mainframe hardware, software and associated services.

First consists of more than 40 million lines of Unisys Cobol code, supported by an underlying Unisys software landscape, incorporating Algol, LINC and the Unisys DMSII database management system.

The tender doesn’t include the management and support of First or development services for the system but Inland Revenue says it is essential that any respondent has the necessary capability if the department needs to source additional Cobol-related capability, and the capacity to manage demand-related pressures in support of development and/or operational matters.

“Any RFP issued by Inland Revenue may have the provision of any Unisys Clearpath mainframe hardware/software separate from services. It is possible that one supplier could provide the required hardware and software, and other services,” the document says.

Responses are due by February 3. Suppliers will be notified of the outcome by February 29.

Inland Revenue has also given advance notice that it will issue an RFP this month, seeking to identify a supplier(s) to work with it to provide a core bench of specialised Unisys Cobol and Oracle Weblogic resources at its Wellington site.

In May last year, the department announced it was abandoning plans to use Oracle to deliver legislative changes to student loans; instead, it said it would upgrade First.

At that stage, it had spent $21 million of the $35 million approved by Cabinet in 2009.

Peter Mersi, IRD deputy commissioner of business transformation, said at the time that it was expected the upgrade to First could be completed within the existing budget.

He added that the legislative changes affecting students should be in place by April.

First is more than 20 years old.

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