The Need for Mainframe Modernization

The previous post discussed the topic, “what is mainframe modernization?”. This post will describe the concept of mainframe modernization in detail.

The mainframe is basically a giant monolith, left in the dust by newer technology. While new kids on the block such as Google and Facebook are playing around with new technologies, older, more established companies are stuck with the technology of the 1970s.

As a result, they are falling behind new firms in competitiveness, hindering their business agility and growth. However, you can’t just throw away the whole thing. Decades of data and applications exist in mainframes. Data and applications that are mission-critical to a firm.

While newer firms do not have such problem because they never had to use mainframes to even begin with. But older companies have a big task at hand, they need to adopt new technologies, but they simply do not have the option to overhaul their entire system, or at least not without disruption to mission-critical services.

If you look at the stats, in the United States alone, federal agencies spend 70% of IT budget in legacy system maintenance, and over $50bn is spent on maintaining legacy systems, which could have been used for adopting new IT capabilities. As well, over 70% of world’s data still reside in mainframes, containing over 200 billions of lines of COBOL code. So what does this mean? Mainframe and COBOL still dominate the world, even now, at the dawn of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

This is the grim reality of older firms, losing more and more competitiveness every day to newer firms; unable to replace decades worth of data and applications worth millions perhaps even billions of dollars, hindering their growths, and their ability to invest and use new technologies. The longer they wait to modernize, the further they are gonna be left behind.

However, despite all the reasons to modernize, most enterprises are hesitant in modernizing their mission-critical systems. So why is this the case? This is because of the following reasons:

-Too time intensive (may take years to complete)

-Too cost intensive (costs can easily outweigh benefits)

-Cause disruption in service (cannot afford disruption to mission-critical systems)

-Too risky (you spend all that time and money, and it may not even succeed!)

You can see why companies are willing to just maintain the status quo. However, having a “don’t fix what’s not broken” approach will not work. Why? Because modernization gives organizations the following key advantages:

1.Technological efficiency

2.Cost efficiency

Companies have to improve these two critical areas, or simply fall behind in the competition.

The next post, “Benefits of Mainframe Modernization” describes each of these advantages in detail.

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