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Australian Stud Book Takes Thoroughbred Breeding Online With Micro Focus

  • 20 September, 2005 10:15

<p>The Australian Stud Book (ASB), the body responsible for ensuring the integrity of thoroughbred breeding in Australia, has achieved savings of more than $200,000 on its IT costs, reclaimed more than 60 per cent of its development time, and vastly improved online access to its records database since migrating from a mainframe system to the Microsoft Windows platform.</p>
<p>Jointly owned by the Australian Jockey Club (AJC) and the Victoria Racing Club (VRC), ASB’s migration project was undertaken using the Lift and Shiftä solution from Micro Focus. AJC is responsible for the IT systems supporting the Stud Book.</p>
<p>“Since 1989 our records have been stored on an ICL mainframe, which, although reliable, was extremely cumbersome when it came to updating our records or adding new features,” said AJC IT Manager Eric Richardson.</p>
<p>“We enjoyed a smooth transition to the new platform,” Richardson said. “Our legacy COBOL applications translated perfectly and transferred intact to the desktop. In fact we had planned to phase out COBOL entirely once the application was up and running on the new platform, but when the migration was complete the converted COBOL applications were so robust and easy to maintain, and we had such a development backlog to address, that we kept them."</p>
<p>One of the major benefits of the new platform was enabling AJC to update the ASB website daily. Previously, extracting the information from the mainframe database and transferring it to the website database had taken over 24 hours and was consequently only done once a fortnight.</p>
<p>“With Windows it takes us four hours, so updates take place every evening and the records are available online the next day. It’s a quantum leap in terms of getting information back to the breeders, and helping them process their breeding activities faster than was ever possible before,” said Richardson. “One of the major objectives for the ASB was to provide online facilities for breeders to lodge the necessary documents that record the breeding process. The migration has allowed us to use the website as a front-end to the ASB application and to offer this service to our users.”</p>
<p>Since its launch in 1997, ASB's website ( has grown to receive more than two million hits per month, and contain complete breeding records and pedigrees going back, in some cases, 300 years.</p>
<p>Keith Mante, Country Manager, Micro Focus Australia, said in a typical organisation, up to 80 per cent of IT development time is lost to maintaining mainframe applications, with only 20 per cent available for development work on new applications.</p>
<p>“Without the maintenance burden, organisations win back more time for real development work, resulting in greater productivity and business development,” said Mante. “For ASB, the time saved on mainframe maintenance was used to develop new ways to identify thoroughbreds, and accelerated the rollout to the Internet. If it weren’t for the new system it’s unlikely the website would have progressed so quickly.”</p>
<p>ASB has recently added subscription access to the Stud Book website in response to the growing popularity of the portal and the additional resources needed to continually develop it.</p>
<p>“We’re not going overboard and locking breeders out from an essential service (membership costs less than $30 a year), but are instead adding value through the development of new features and functionality,” said Richardson. “Access to the basic site is still free, and anyone can look up recent records of any racehorse or breeding horse in the system and breeders can use the online lodgement systems. With subscription comes additional access to detailed breeding and pedigree information.</p>
<p>“If website traffic is any indication – daily hits have been steadily increasing following the introduction of paid membership – demand is higher than ever and can only grow further as more breeders discover the benefits of the new system.”</p>
<p>Although it has been largely replaced by the website, the Australian Stud Book continues to be published every four years and is both a reference work and collectors item for thoroughbred breeding enthusiasts.</p>
<p>Quick Facts</p>
<p>- Australia is the second-largest thoroughbred breeding nation in the world, behind the U.S. but ahead of historic horse racing and breeding nations like the United Kingdom.
- The Australian industry is worth billions of dollars a year. Top stallions can command up to $200,000 per mating, and service more than 150 mares a year.
- The Australian breeding circuit attracts world-famous stallions like Rock of Gibraltar, jointly owned by Manchester United football club manager Alex Ferguson (who was recently involved in a fracas with his co-owners over, incidentally, stud fees).</p>
<p>Micro Focus - Unlocking the Value of Legacy™
Micro Focus is a leading provider of legacy development and deployment software for enterprise platforms. Micro Focus enables organizations to reduce costs and increase agility with minimal risk by reusing their legacy applications with contemporary architectures and Web services. Founded in 1976, Micro Focus is a global company with principal offices in the United Kingdom, United States and Japan. For more information, visit</p>
<p>Micro Focus is a registered trademark and Unlocking the Value of Legacy and Lift and Shift are trademarks of Micro Focus. Microsoft and Windows Server are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other products mentioned in this announcement are trademarks of their respective owners.</p>

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