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Fujitsu Modernizes Mission-Critical School Finance System for Minnesota Department of Education

Fujitsu America Inc.

News Facts:
  • The Minnesota Department of Education’s (MDE) outdated finance mainframe system undergoes a modernization using Fujitsu PROGRESSION tool suite
  • In addition to cutting costs, the project also resulted in improved management and reporting capabilities
  • Future-proofed architecture ensures more robust software development and quality assurance
June 24, 2020

Fujitsu America, Inc. today announces the completion of a legacy modernization project for the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). The project successfully brought MDE’s 40-year-old, mission-critical school finance system up to date, resulting in lower costs, reduced risk and greater flexibility for the governing body responsible for managing the education of almost 900,000 K-12 students and 82,000 adult learners across the state of Minnesota. The project consisted of migrating all school finance mainframe system applications and databases to a new, modern language and platform automatically using the Fujitsu proprietary PROGRESSION tool suite.

Project Background
Until the completion of the modernization project, the MDE’s school finance system (MSFS) was running on a Unisys Clearpath mainframe platform that was deployed in 1970. Over time, the need to upgrade the system became more and more apparent; it was proving difficult and expensive to run, as it required qualified COBOL programmers to support it. MDE, in partnership with Minnesota IT Services (MNIT), made the decision in 2017 that it could no longer delay a mainframe modernization project and, through the standard request for proposal process, selected Fujitsu based on their established project plan and proven track record of legacy modernization and the integrated solution capabilities.

Using the PROGRESSION tool suite, Fujitsu automatically migrated all school finance mainframe system applications without causing the system to go offline. In the end, 28 applications, 1.4 million lines of COBOL code including 2,921 programs/copybooks converted to C# and 68GB of data migrated to SQL Server.

The benefits of the migration include:

  • Reduced operational cost through saving on support and the need for scarce programmer resources
  • Simplified integration of components between Department of Education systems, allowing greater flexibility
  • Future-proofed architecture to support a more robust software development & quality assurance lifecycle process
  • Integrated DevOps solution including automated tools and processes

Supporting Quotes
David Reeg, MNIT Software Development Supervisor at MDE said: “Modernizing a Unisys mainframe is a niche activity. Every example is unique, but COBOL computer programmers are a dwindling resource. This had to happen. Fujitsu clearly understood our concerns. We went through a feasibility study for code conversion, and Fujitsu produced clean code. This modernization was delivered on time, on budget and there was no disruption after the launch. The move saves hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual support costs. It also supports business continuity, simplifying the task of replacing scarce COBOL programmers.”

Sherry Casey, Head of Application Transform, Fujitsu America, Inc., said: “Antiquated back-end systems consume valuable monetary and human resources in organizations of all sizes and across all sectors. The legacy modernization project we undertook with MDE helped significantly reduce operating costs, while simplifying management operations and improving reporting. This, in turn, enables MDE to better serve the students and staff at the almost 500 school districts it oversees. The success of this digital transformation not only benefits MDE at an operational level, but citizens across the entire state of Minnesota as well.”

The preceding is a factual summary of the events that took place for MDE's modernization project. The State of Minnesota does not endorse any products or companies.

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About Fujitsu

Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services. Approximately 130,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702) reported consolidated revenues of 3.9 trillion yen (US$35 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020. For more information, please see

About Fujitsu Americas

Fujitsu America, Inc., is the parent and/or management company of a group of Fujitsu-owned companies operating in North, Central and South America dedicated to delivering the full range of Fujitsu digital technology solutions and services to clients in the Western Hemisphere. These companies are collectively referred to as Fujitsu Americas. Fujitsu enables customers to meet their business objectives through integrated offerings and solutions, including consulting, systems integration, managed services, outsourcing and cloud services for infrastructure, platforms and applications; data center and field services; and server, storage, software and mobile/tablet technologies. For more information, please visit: and

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Date: June 24, 2020
Company: Fujitsu America, Inc.