2017-10-26 JTC ETS Mainframe Update


Joint Transportation, Highways & Military Affairs Committee (JTC)

Honorable Curt Meier

Honorable John Eklund


History

During the past 20 years, a number of State systems have migrated off the mainframe environment leaving four agencies using the majority of the mainframe infrastructure:


  1. Department of Family Services

  2. Department of Transportation

  3. Department of Workforce Services

  4. Secretary of State


Over the past several years, the State’s IT leadership has explored the possibility of migrating the remaining systems to other platforms in order to retire the State's mainframe. However, agency concerns regarding costs and risks always seem to deter forward momentum. In spring 2012, with the creation of the Department Enterprise Technology Services (ETS), began another attempt as IT resources were consolidating and the State’s IT infrastructure was evolving. ETS leadership started to explore the possibility of migration with the goal of retiring the State’s mainframe environment by the end of 2017. Several important reasons supported this goal and they are still valid today:

  • Our mainframe environment is very costly to maintain, more than $2 million per year. These costs are billed back to the agencies who use the mainframe for their applications and related processes.

  • The mainframe environment cannot easily leverage the kind of technology and resources we are investing in as we develop a more modern IT architecture for the State.

  • Programming changes for mainframe applications are difficult and expensive compared to open systems and limit our ability to support new or changing requirements and needed improvements.

  • Many of our skilled mainframe personnel are retiring and replacing them will be difficult. Most colleges and universities no longer offer mainframe programs.



Current Status:

  1. Department of Family Services (DFS) Eligibility Payment Information Computer System (EPICS) and Jobs Automated System (JAS): The EPICS provides for the eligibility processing and associated management of the Personal Opportunities With Employment Responsibilities (POWER), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Medicaid programs.  The JAS case management system provides for the management of POWER work requirement, Employment and Training, and Child Care Purchase of Service programs.


  1. Department of Transportation (WyDOT) Revenue Information System (RIS): The RIS provides for the state’s Driver Services, Registration, Highway Tax Accounting, and other important DOT functions and interfaces with Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and various other Local, State, and Federal agencies.


  1. Department of Workforce Services (DWS) Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Financial Accounting System (FARS): The UI and FARS applications provides for UI benefit payment processing for eligible Wyoming citizens and related program accounting.  Development on a new system is underway and the first phase, Benefits, will be released into production July 2018 while the second phase, Tax, will be released July 2019.


  1. Secretary of State (SOS) Central Filing System: The Central Filing System provides for filing financing statements or notice of those financing statements in accordance with “W.S.  34-21-1101 through 34-21-1107 Central Filing System Agricultural Products” and section 1324 of the Food Security Act of 1985. Development on a new system is underway and will be released into production by March 2018.


The Next Twelve Months:

Maintenance and support for the Direct-Access Storage Device (DASD) and parts of the Automated Tape Library (ATL) hardware components of the Mainframe will expire this December. The remaining ATL hardware components will expire next August. ETS plans to purchase new hardware components to replace the expired ones. During the process, ETS will also evaluate downgrading the size of the Mainframe CPU to reduce purchase and operating costs.  


An ad hoc exploratory committee consisting of representatives from State agencies is being formed to advise regarding investment in Mainframe services and to examine new migration paths that will support agency needs.