The automated overnight batch processing of intellectual property (IP) data at CPA Global’s head office in Jersey was taking longer than required, causing significantly reduced system availability in the company’s overseas processing centres during the business day.
Through correct systems analysis and the use of an industry leading testing tool, Desynit identified areas of the system where up to an 80% saving in processing time could be achieved. In addition, CPA Global was provided with information, guidance and tools to enable them to better maintain the system in-house.
CPA Global is the world's leading provider of legal services outsourcing, including intellectual property (IP), document review, transaction support, contract solutions, and legal research. With offices across Europe, the United States, Asia and the Pacific, CPA Global supports many of the world’s best known corporations and law firms with a diverse set of legal and IP specific requirements.
CPA Global helps its clients manage their valuable IP Rights, such as patents, designs and trademarks, ensuring that IP portfolios are protected, maintained and regularly reviewed in order to maximise value.
Founded in Jersey, Channel Islands in 1969, CPA Global today employs 1,500 people in 15 offices in ten countries, serving clients' needs in over 100 countries. CPA Global has offices in key city locations such as London, Paris, Munich, Washington DC, Sydney, Hong Kong and New Delhi; and has strategic partnerships covering Japan, Korea and other markets.
Why did they need us?
CPA Global’s head office in Jersey runs its intellectual property batch processing overnight, enabling information to be exchanged between the company and its international clients, both electronically and in document form, in readiness for the following business day. Operating a COBOL system running on IBM I series DB2 database, CPA Global’s batch processing has evolved over many years to incorporate new business requirements. When the system was first installed, speed was not seen as a top priority, since data could be left to transfer between CPA Global and its clients overnight. However, as CPA Global embarked on an major international growth strategy, processing centres in regional offices around the world were introduced, along with the requirement to increase system availability in other time zones. CPA Global’s operations in Australia, for example, had only a couple of hours a day to enter information into the system, because of the time it took for batch processing to take place in Jersey overnight. If the business was to continue growing globally, the length of time the system was unavailable had to be reduced.
What we did
Desynit worked with CPA Global to identify project goals:-
- Improve efficiency of the batch processing
- Identify and clear redundant processes
- Address ‘work-around’ solutions and offer application efficient alternatives
- Optimise database implementation
- Create an environment of continuous performance improvement
The normal solution to reduced performance of batch activities is to throw more hardware at the problem. Whilst this would have undoubtedly resulted in some improvement, Desynit recognised that, due to the application’s age, there was a good chance that savings could be made by reviewing the code and database structures.
Desynit took on the task of profiling the application’s efficiency and recognised at an early stage that there was a need to use additional tools to capture and analyse program and database activity. Additionally, in order to implement any recommendations, we discovered that there were no adequate testing tools in place to ensure that changes made had no negative impact. We set about reviewing analysis and testing products available from third party vendors and were happy to recommend to CPA Global the use of Original Software's TestBench tool set.
Armed with the details of the precise program execution time and database access, we created a top ten list of processes to undergo a more detailed code review. Through our modification of the database and program structures, we were able to improve the performance of key programs in testing by up to 80%, confident in the knowledge that the system functionality had not been adversely affected. This level of improvement meant that system availability would be increased throughout the CPA Global’s offices.
Our final goal was to leave CPA Global with the tools and techniques which would permit them to review and improve their own processes and operational efficiency. We prepared a number of software change specifications to be scheduled and implemented into the CPA Global maintenance schedule. We also provided guidance and documentation to CPA Global on coding best practice, based directly on the issues uncovered by our investigation. CPA Global has the technical knowledge and tools they need to maintain this system now and for the future, allowing them to continue their international business expansion with confidence.
What they said
"Desynit have not only proven themselves extremely effective in understanding our IT needs, but have become a valuable and natural extension of our own technical team."