Frequently Asked Questions

Many organizations put off mainframe modernization for a simple reason: big iron gets the job done, it’s highly reliable, and it’s capable of handling certain workloads incredibly well. However, most mainframe systems were developed several decades ago so the languages and databases used to run them were never designed to integrate with other platforms or the internet. Legacy mainframe systems therefore continue to inhibit the ability of companies to adopt innovative solutions.

If you’re thinking about a modernization project, we answer the most frequently asked questions from customers:

  • What’s driving organizations to modernize?

    Our customers cite that their mainframe migration efforts are being driven by specific business outcomes.


    From our recent 2022 Mainframe Modernization Business Barometer Report, survey respondents reported security (data, regulatory compliance, and infrastructure management) as the primary driver to modernize, as well as to:


    • Address the legacy skills shortages and high costs
    • Streamline systems and add efficiencies
    • Strategically move data to the cloud
    • Dramatically reduce license spend associated with legacy systems
    • Integrate platforms for better service levels and performance
    • Leverage data analytics and/or business intelligence to gain competitive advantage
    • Stay current with compliance and regulatory demands
    • End dependency on a legacy technology
  • Can modernization be achieved?

    The answer is yes! With Advanced’s expertise in the legacy modernization market our clients have not only realized cost savings but reduced the risk in system failure and downtime.


    Application modernization is a thriving industry and fast becoming mainstream - 90% of our survey respondents have modernized mainframe workloads in the past three years vs 11% who undertook modernization initiatives before 2020.


    Our customers have seen a 66% reduction in run costs. You can view all our case studies here.


    Success depends, however, on careful migration partner selection; choose experts with a demonstrable track record of mainframe modernization success. See question 3 for more information.

  • Why do I need a migration partner?

    Given that organizations typically only undertake one or two modernization projects in a 10-year period its critical to make sure you can lean on the experience of a partner whose focus is delivering successful modernization projects.


    Advanced has successfully completed over 500 modernization projects worldwide across all sectors and technologies for the past 40 years. Our team of experts are ready to show:


    • A verifiable track record of mainframe modernization success
    • Full support of your internal team and modernization project throughout the entire process
    • The tools, software and expertise to deliver a high-quality solution, including discovery and planning processes to minimize the risk of modernization


    Discover more by watching our on-demand technology webinars.


    TIP: When comparing partners make sure you’re assessing like for like. For example, Advanced includes data migration in our project scope and pricing - offering a turnkey solution from start to finish whereas many others do not, leaving the customer to migrate their data, then deploy and fix any target state problems themselves.

  • Will performance be maintained?

    Wherever there’s an existing application that's been there for decades and has been highly optimized to run on a mainframe, it’s only natural to worry about whether performance can be maintained or improved once modernization has taken place.


    The simple answer is yes; we deliver a truly like for like target state. With over 40 years’ experience in application modernization, Advanced uses multiple approaches and strategies to ensure modernization projects are a success.

  • How automated are the solutions?

    Our solutions are 100% automated. There is no manual intervention between the code being loaded and the refactored code being produced. We can refactor code fast and consistently. Optimization takes place in the tooling and not with the resulting code.

  • What’s the first step in modernization?

    The first step is to arrange an application assessment. It provides stakeholders with valuable insight to inform modernization decisions such as the chosen method of migrating the legacy estate to the target environment, and/or cloud readiness. It also mitigates cost and risk by highlighting potential challenges and how to overcome them. You can read more about the assessment process here.

  • Why do modernization projects fail?

    Many companies begin their modernization journeys by attempting to migrate legacy systems to their desired state using internal resources alone, but run into difficulties in their strategy as the true breadth and depth of the modernization task reveals itself.


    Code quality, project overrun, and inadequate expertise were the most cited unforeseen challenges to successful mainframe modernization. As well as:


    • Disconnect of priorities between technical and leadership teams: Despite the business benefits of modernizing, there is a significant disconnect between the desire for technical teams to pursue these projects and the level of commitment they receive from leadership. From our recent survey, 38% report that leadership still lack an understanding the business benefits of cloud migration and IT in general.
    • Technology tunnel-vision: Not ensuring business logic and technical use cases match between the legacy and target environment prior to migration.
    • Unrealistic expectations: Where your partner promises more than can be realistically delivered.
    • Internal infighting: Organization politics can become a factor, especially if a project is sponsored by one group but opposed by others who need to be engaged for the project.
    • Steep re-learning process:  If the modernization effort is solely focused on the operational or system areas without looking at the enablement of employees the result is partial and incomplete modernization.
    • Inadequate planning: 11% of enterprises have blamed a lack of planning for modernization failures.
    • Poor understanding of the legacy environment
  • How do I mitigate those risks?

    Understanding the details of an application and its interrelationships with other systems is a necessary step for modernization. A challenge for many companies is that little documentation exists, or is current, for many applications.


    It’s an important reminder that as part of their strategy, organizations should consult experienced specialists with modernization project expertise and demonstrated track records of success to conduct deep assessments and develop air-tight strategies before embarking on any modernization program.


    Read 10 steps to ensure a successful mainframe migration.

  • How do you keep the modernization project on time and in budget?

    For the modernization project to work, it’s vital to choose the right partner who’s going to collaborate with you. The partnership needs to consist of appropriate specialists/teams that are transparent, able to listen to each other and work together to reach their shared goals.


    At Advanced, we take several steps to ensure that cross-functional teams understand potential challenges that may arise through the modernization process. This understanding enables us to mutually plan mitigation tactics well in advance of a possible roadblock. The visibility and expertise required to accomplish this comes from our comprehensive Assessment process and the tooling that underpins it, paired with Advanced’s decades of modernization experience.


    You may be interested in reading The Modernization Secrets of the Fortune 1000.