How Enterprises Can Accelerate Their Mainframe-to-Cloud Journey to Be Part of the Next-Generation Business World

Scott G. Silk, CEO and Chairman, Astadia
Scott G. Silk, CEO and Chairman, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank' style='color:blue !important'>Astadia</a>

Scott G. Silk, CEO and Chairman, Astadia

Digital disruption and the ever-growing market demand for instant information and data is rapidly changing the way business operate, making every tech-based company feel the pressure of putting agility and innovation at the core of their business. For incumbent firms, this reality is even more challenging.

More than 70% of global Fortune 500 companies use mainframes to run their core business functions. Mainframe usage is particularly high for industries that rely on data and process a huge number of transactions, such as banking, finance, utilities, and government organizations. But how long will this last?

Recent reports show that the demand for mainframe modernization and cloud migration is accelerating among enterprises and government agencies alike, with 85% percent of IT leaders working on transformational activities, most significantly, modernizing infrastructure and applications. This trend is partially driven by the risk of losing competitive advantage due to IT not being able to keep up with business demands, as monolithic mainframe systems make it difficult for companies to enable agility and vertical scalability.

On the other hand, enterprises spend on average between 60% and 80% of their IT budget on maintaining existing systems instead of on new developments, and half of these costs are related to time and resources spent on the research and adaptation of legacy systems. Escalating licensing fees for mainframe products and diminishing of maintenance support are forcing organizations to either migrate applications running on very expensive software or to completely replace the mainframe. 

The shrinking talent pool is another driver to move away from the mainframe. As old programming languages gradually disappeared from universities’ curriculum and baby boomers started to retire, many mainframe-based companies are now in the middle of a skills crisis.

Many of the world’s 20,000 mainframe-based companies are well familiar with these factors that urge for rapid action to modernize and embrace cloud computing. Yet 74% of organizations fail to complete legacy modernization projects. The disconnect between business and IT teams and the associated risks are the most often cited reasons for this high failure rate.

The good news is that both can be addressed by using the right transformation solution and tools. It is important, though, to draw a few distinctions that have major implications with respect to the cost, risk, timeline, and overall success of any mainframe modernization project.

1. Using a complete solution: end-to-end industrialization of the migration process

 ‚ÄčA well-planned roadmap for a modern cloud-based strategy, a thoroughly documented approach, and the right tools is the key to adapting and being part of the next-generation business world 

In the context of a mainframe migration project, code refactoring and test automation tools address specific tasks, but they aren’t inherently connected to other automation tools along the way. A modification to the database design doesn’t necessarily flow through to the refactored code, and it doesn’t show up in test scenarios unless or until someone makes that downstream modification to the test scripts.FastTrack Factory industrializes the refactoring of legacy workloads, simplifies the migration of databases, and enables a holistic and automated approach to testing the end-to-end migration process.

2. Reducing project risk through automation

Automation a key enabler for organizations looking to modernize legacy systems and transition to a more agile, cloud-connected landscape. Automation reduces risk because it enables repeated testing based upon real-world scenarios derived from actual user input to your production system, recorded and replayed in a refactored test environment to ensure functional equivalence to existing legacy systemshere’s no limit to the amount of testing that can be performed. The platformallows for exhaustive stress testing the target environment under heavy loads. By the time you’re ready to go live, you can have complete confidence.

3. A broad range of legacy platforms vs. a single-vendor focus

Most vendors who offer automation tools are focused on IBM mainframes and widely used languages and databases that run on systems. The Astadia FastTrack Factory is designed to work with multiple legacy systems and multiple target environments. using platform to Adabas & NaturalIDMS, Assembler, and Unisys systems have access to the same automation capabilities and tools as a running COBOL applications on IBM z/OS.partner

Sooner or later, organizations will have to choose between the risks of migrating and the risk of being left behind. In the end, having a well-planned roadmap for a modern cloud-based strategy, a thoroughly documented approach and the right tools is the key to adapt and be part of the next-generation business world. Make sure your organization will take full advantage of this journey.