Case Study: Meet the Pensions Powerhouse Revolutionizing with PopUp Mainframe

In the fast-paced realm of pensions, evolution is the name of the game. But for our client, Legal & General, stuck on the same mainframe systems since the ’90s, change was a distant dream—until now.

Picture this: a 20x surge in pension books in a decade, while the industry hurtled through regulatory overhauls and the digital age. Staying on the mainframe was bold, but transformative. How? They innovated from within, a concept dubbed “hollowing the core”, simplifying the system while adapting to the evolving landscape.

Legal & General company logo

The challenge?

Keeping up with regulatory shifts while catering to a new breed of tech-savvy, app-driven customers who want their pensions at the speed of a voice command.

Their biggest hurdle to achieving their ambitious goals was a lack of mainframe environments in which to innovate. With PopUp Mainframe in combination with Delphix, they were able to spin up virtual mainframe instances on-demand for dev, testing, and R&D. Teams embraced the ability to install apps and enjoy full control in their PopUps, sending productivity through the roof.

Embracing PopUp Mainframe and product engineering principles, L&G turbocharged their mainframe SDLC, ensuring faster, quality changes.


Enter empathy-based design: a game-changer

It wasn’t a traditional project; it was a continuous loop of understanding, ideation, prototyping, and relentless user feedback. They waved goodbye to the hero culture, instead, focusing on understanding pain points and mapping out a service design blueprint.

PopUp was a key ingredient to empathy-based design. It provided the adaptable, always-available z/OS environments the team needed to adopt new ways of working and continuously evolve based on feedback.

Revamping their strategy was essential. They navigated the transition by working closely with their team, redefining tools, environments, data, and, most importantly, the culture.

And the technical strides? Monumental.

Leveraging PopUp in Azure, they shifted their mainframe environments to the cloud—5 million lines of code, 80,000 modules, all seamlessly transported without changing code or config. They didn’t just move; they transformed, harmonizing GitHub and Endevor, bridging old and new in perfect sync.

Their shift to CICD pipelines using GitHub actions for mainframe SDLC was revolutionary. Automation tools were their new allies, slashing processing times from 90 minutes to mere moments.

Their team members embodied the future. From COBOL to Python, green screens to GUIs, and legacy systems to cutting-edge tech, they mastered it all.


The result?

A modernized SDLC with PopUp at the core, laptops loaded with contemporary tools, and a production-to-dev turnaround in hours, not days. CI and CD weren’t just checkboxes; they were the conduits for change, the catalysts for a unified developer experience across generations.

The team testimonials say it all. Angela, once confined to green screens, now revels in an IDEs which are game-changing. Raghav, a mainframe stalwart for 16 years, never imagined running COBOL programs outside the mainframe until this revolution unfolded.

From empathetic redesign to technical metamorphosis, this journey redefined their approach, empowering them to transform the unchangeable, making the impossible possible.


This isn’t just a success story; it’s a testament to daring innovation and relentless adaptability in a landscape hungry for evolution.



The team’s excellent work has been recognised across the industry.

Environmental honouree at 2024 European Impact Awards by

Find out More

Read more about Legal & General’s story here and here.


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