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Case studies

Modernizing the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)

Transportation agency tackles application modernization

With hundreds of employees and millions of registered vehicles to account for, a state department of motor vehicles naturally relies on high–volume information systems to do its job. Faced with aging systems and multiple platforms the agency enlisted Deloitte to put more agile operations in place.

The challenge

With hundreds of employees and millions of registered vehicles to account for, a state department of motor vehicles naturally relies on high–volume information systems to do its job. In one of the largest states, many of the systems the DMV relied upon were out of date and out of sync with each other—including a 20-year-old system coded in Adabas/Natural and Cobol with a Java swing point-of-sale application that handled registrations and titles.

Age alone doesn't make a system unworkable. But, in this case, the multiple complex platforms And they didn't support the agility and analytics operations the department needed to develop. The DMV needed to modernize to a common architecture to meet stakeholder demands.

The application modernization process

In the first year of the project, 10 scheduled releases unveiled different stages of improvement. The first application modernization pilot was ready for system testing in only six weeks. This quick demonstration of improvement was a tangible result that helped the DMV show governing stakeholders the progress that was being made.

The project refactored millions of lines of code to a new Java-based platform. It updated more than 700 screens, 3,000 batch jobs, and 120 Adabas database refactored from Adabas to a relational database, which boosted enterprise reporting capabilities. Other technologies, such as PL/1, Assembler, and Cobol, were also migrated to the new Java–based platform and established a common enterprise architecture.

The application modernization approach

Faced with declining performance but unwilling to take on operational risks and saddle taxpayers with the cost of a ground–up rebuild or customized package implementation, the department chose application modernization. This process focused on keeping what works and spending efforts on areas requiring improvement. To get there, the technology required modernization first. Targeted improvement with demonstrable return on investment would let the department retain it's core systems while also building on those systems' functionality by replacing, or “refactoring,” dated code with modern code.

Deloitte and innoWake worked with the DMV to map out an incremental approach to modernizing the systems required to process registrations and titles. First, the team prioritized the real-world needs the upgraded system had to handle: Service enhancements, legislative changes, ad-hoc reports, and other business needs. They determined how much effort, time, and resources the necessary changes would require, and the defined the roles and responsibilities of the team that would carry them out. Only then did they develop a release schedule for the progressive changes to be implemented.

The results:
  • Enhanced customercentric capabilities
  • Implementation of legislative changes
  • Automation of business processes
  • Enhanced agency reporting
  • Improved system reliability
  • Modernization inventory

The scalable, affordable change the department needed

It was as if our system was driving our processes rather than the other way around. We realized that—in order to make the changes needed to serve our customers better—we were going to need a more agile system.

— DMV executive director

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