Founded in 2005, Opal Future Technologies, Inc. provides IT infrastructure for
eight pension funds that are currently regulated by the Israeli government. The
funds have three million participants and over US $20 billion in assets.
To reduce operating costs and deliver consistent, quality service, the
government tasked Opal with consolidating the eight fund's information
management systems into a single, unified system. Opal Technologies is
headquartered in Herzelia, Israel.
The new system aggregates supporting services such as customer relationship
management, data mining, investments management, help desk, and suppliers
management into a secure, roles-based environment with access to a centralized
pension calculation engine and over 30 terabytes of data stored in an IBM DB2
Content Manager storage system. The new system:
Increases the accuracy and reliability of the managed data and enforces a
uniform pension calculation for all account holders.
Gives pension fund managers a single sign-on access to a uniform set of tools
and applications to administer the fund.
Enables accountholders' employers to transfer pension fund contributions from
employees' paychecks to their pension accounts and gives accountholders online
access to their account information.
Alex Libis, Information and Data Security Manager of Opal, evaluated several
commercially available portal servers to deliver the user interface. "We
selected IBM WebSphere® Portal 6 because it offers roles-based
access and a highly integrated, rich end-user experience," said Libis.
"WebSphere Portal also offers easy integration with Opal's existing IBM DB2 CM
(Content Manager) storage system."
However, Opal faced a critical mismatch of skills and technologies, since
several of its support applications are written in .NET. The company had only
three in-house Java developers and just four months to bring the new system
Libis considered rewriting the .NET applications in Java, however, the process
proved too time consuming. "It took our Java developers two weeks to rewrite a
sample .NET application in Java. At this rate, we'd need about 18 months to
integrate the .NET applications."
Libis, who heard about Mainsoft's cross-compilation technologies, decided to
pilot Mainsoft's Portal Edition. The Portal Edition cross-compiles .NET code
directly into JSR 168 compliant portlets that run natively on WebSphere Portal.
For the proof of concept, Libis chose the largest and most logically complex
.NET application. Within three days, Opal's .NET developers integrated the
application into the Portal. "Our existing .NET team quickly achieved native
integration with other Java EE portlets, without sacrificing performance,"
Satisfied with the results, Opal selected Mainsoft's Portal Edition to deploy
the remaining .NET applications on the Portal.
In four months, Opal integrated six .NET applications and more than 30 Java
services into the Portal and deployed the new system. In the process, the team
changed less than one-half of one percent of the .NET code base. The next phase
will incorporate an additional nine .NET applications and open the Portal for
"Today, I have Java developers and .NET developers working side by side in the
Portal environment. Both groups can access the same Java classes/JSF objects to
deliver Java deployments. Most importantly, Mainsoft's Portal Edition has given
us the flexibility to rapidly design and implement the system without worrying
about the language in which the components are written." Libis added.
Mainsoft's Portal Edition and IBM WebSphere Portal enabled Opal to rapidly
deploy the integrated pension fund system while fully preserving its existing
code and skills. The company is achieving native integration of the .NET
applications into the Portal at a fraction of the time it would have taken to
rewrite them, while avoiding the inherent risk involved in a rewrite.