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February 26, 1998


Micro Focus to open large Cobol training centre

Email this story to a friend. The Bangalore based Micro Focus India Private Limited will be opening its first training centre for Cobol in Bangalore on May 1.

Nitin Wagh, managing director, Micro Focus India, points out that there is no major Cobol training centre in the country when almost 70-80 per cent of applications in any industry are on Cobol.

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The company will be investing about Rs 10 million in the facility aimed at giving training in Cobol and tools in the Cobol environment to corporations and servicing business partners.

"Currently there is no Micro Focus training centre in the country. But there are companies using our tools which are giving training on them,'' he said.

The company, a wholly owned subsidiary of the UK based Micro Focus, started its India operations in May 1996.

"But our products have been here in the market before us,'' said Wagh. The Bangalore based Information Management Resources India used to be the Micro Focus distributor here before the company came in.

"This institute is significant to us considering the amount of business information that is on Cobol environment and the fact that we are the ones to give one of the first Cobol compilers and one that is portable across different platforms,'' said Wagh.

Micro Focus currently has two core products in the country - SoftFactory/2000 and NetExpress.

SoftFactory is a tools based solution for achieving Y2K compliance using the 'windowing' methods. NetExpress allows an organisation to reuse existing legacy code to get data using Web technologies.

"What we want to create awareness on is that Cobol is not obsolete and restricted in its capability, but that today it is as good as the rapid application development environment of a fourth generation language,'' said Wagh.

"The target for Micro Focus Cobol based solutions are almost every sector such as banking, insurance, financial services and manufacturing,'' he added.

Wagh said he is talking to three companies developing banking solutions for total branch automation and would soon be announcing the tie-ups.

"The nationalised banks are big clients. Unlike other solution providers, we will not ask them to throw away the existing systems, but will help them build and integrate applications around the existing ones using Web technologies,'' he said.

Almost 60 per cent of the branch computerisation in India is on Micro Focus Cobol based solutions, according to Wagh.

While refusing to reveal revenues from the India operations, Wagh said the global revenues of the company last year (1996-97) were about $150 million, of which about Rs 40 million was spent on R&D.

"One of the projects that we are working on is an artificial intelligence development tool that can be deployed effectively for problems such as Y2K, Euro conversion and maintenance issues,'' said Wagh.

Micro Focus has also announced the opening of its Madras office. This is expected to increase the company's competency and ability to address the growing demand for Y2K solutions and distributed computing solutions in the southern region.

"As one of India's more industrialised states, the Y2K issue assumes significantly larger proportion in Tamil Nadu. As the new Millennium approaches, companies will be hard pressed for time to become Y2K compliant,'' said Wagh.

"We decided to set up our office in Madras so that we are close to large customers engaged in the business of software maintenance and services for making computer systems Y2K compliant.''

The NetExpress and SoftFactory 2000 packages will be available through the new office, which will address customer queries about Micro Focus product suites and issues related to Y2K compliance.

- Compiled from the Indian media

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