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Technical Strategy

Job Service North Dakota systems and processes have evolved on the Unisys ClearPath® MCP Software Series platform for more than 40 years — across several generations of mainframes and data centers. The agency’s application suite is deeply customized to address state and federal law. When the pandemic began, unemployment filings jumped by 350%, which required paying out 14 times the number of claims compared to pre-COVID volume. The technology solution had to improve system performance without breaking existing processes or requiring extensive recoding.

Magnetic tape backups used in the on-premises data center were emblematic of the challenge. A failure could cause a two-week recovery period due to the lack a of holistic disaster recovery solution. JSND also faced the challenge of transitioning from one generation of staff, many of whom had been with the organization since it adopted Unisys technology in the 1980s. The transition to the cloud provided new capabilities requiring new skills.

Effective change management

Processed 14x more claims

After a 30-day kickoff phase that included job shadowing to document the staff’s processes, Unisys stepped in to manage the platform. We added a new development team to modify and maintain applications and extend existing logic to support CARES Act payments.

With citizens clamoring for payments during the lockdown, the focus for Unisys was clear: move the existing platform to the cloud. This transformation solved the two-week disaster-recovery issue by providing real-time fail-over from JSND’s primary ClearPath MCP instance to another Azure region, eliminating the up to two weeks required to restore the system from tape backups. The resulting cloud platform also provides up to 300% better production processing speed than the physical data center.

The solution

“ClearPath MCP Software Series for Azure, combined with the Unisys CloudForte® consulting services in the Azure GovCloud, enables us to achieve our goal while reducing costs, streamlining IT operations and enabling compliance with regulations,” said Pat Kelly, the agency’s IT director.

Unisys transitioned JSND’s ClearPath® MCP Software Series for Microsoft Azure from hardware-based systems to the GovCloud using CloudForte with assistance for Azure Site Recovery and Application Services to support the development and maintenance of mission-critical applications. An Azure-based virtual tape library replaced the physical backup process, including remote system monitoring, database administration, batch operations and systems administration—all of which Unisys professionals staff 24/7.

Unisys does Digital Workplace Solutions really well. You can be sure your project will be completed on time and on budget, and that it will surpass your expectations. We do Digital Workplace Solutions really well. Digital Workplace Solutions aren’t hard when you work with Unisys.

ClearPath MCP Software Series for Azure, combined with the Unisys CloudForte consulting services in the Azure GovCloud, enables us to achieve our goal while reducing costs, streamlining IT operations and enabling compliance with regulations.
Pat Kelly

IT Manager at Job Service North Dakota

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