“Migrating our existing code from the mainframe to .NET fit our long-term strategy perfectly. We completed the project quickly  and cost-effectively, and the result is a solution that we can easily see using for the next 10 years.”

                                                                                                                                          Dave Hill, CIO (retired)

Safeguarding over $80B in property assessments and $825 million in annual tax collection and distribution by improving development collaboration and supporting code transparency by migrating from Datacom to a full Microsoft stack. The modernized application is sunning on SQL Server database, Visual Studio IDE and Team Foundation Server (TFS) for source code management.

Migrating Datacom IDEAL and DBNTRY Reuses Valuable COBOL Business Logic

The lifeblood of any US county is the accurate and timely payment of property taxes. County of Marin collects annual property taxes of over $825 million to help fund the local schools, cities, special districts and county budgets. To manage its property valuation and taxation process, the organization introduced TAPIS in the 1980s. TAPIS is an in-house developed solution which previously ran in a mainframe environment. Bob Mahoney, IT Manager for County of Marin comments: “We worked with Digital Strategy Group to move TAPIS from the mainframe onto a Windows-based environment. This enabled us to reuse valuable existing business logic captured in COBOL and gave us integration capabilities with other technologies. Overall, we reduced our operating costs by 91 percent while cutting our batch processing time in half.”

The County of Marin IT team worked with Digital Strategy Group, who specialize in transforming Datacom-based assets to a cloud-ready platform. “The Digital Strategy Group team leveraged automated tools to convert the COBOL code which was then executed seamlessly. They also managed an automated database migration from Datacom to SQL Server” said Mahoney. Because TAPIS manages high value transactions, a parallel environment was set up with an extensive testing phase to verify calculations and ensure consistent results before making the change. A key part of the project was to leverage TFS to house all available code, including COBOL. COBOL code had previously been stored in its own library where code check in and out actions were not available, as they are in TFS. With all code in the same location, TFS provides much better source code and version control, and is helpful in Disaster Recovery (DR) situations and for contingency planning.

“The TAPIS application is a key system for our department to accurately and reliably produce the County’s annual property assessment roll,” says Shelly Scott, Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk for County of Marin. “We feel it is critical to keep the system current in terms of supported software and the potential for modernization.”

Marty Tarr, CEO of Digital Strategy Group, comments: “With the success of TAPIS, the County decided to move all mainframe-hosted systems to a distributed computing environment. In a next phase, other applications were re-platformed from a Datacom COBOL/CICS environment to a more modern application environment”.


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