Frequently Asked Questions

Many organisations put off mainframe modernisation 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 modernisation project, we answer the most frequently asked questions from customers:

  • What’s driving organisations to modernise?

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


    From our recent 2022 Mainframe Modernisation Business Barometer Report, survey respondents reported security (data, regulatory compliance, and infrastructure management) as the primary driver to modernise, 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 licence 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 modernisation be achieved?

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


    Application modernisation is a thriving industry and fast becoming mainstream - 90% of our survey respondents have modernised mainframe workloads in the past three years vs 11% who undertook modernisation 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 modernisation success. See question 3 for more information.

  • Why do I need a migration partner?

    Given that organisations typically only undertake one or two modernisation 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 modernisation projects.


    Advanced has successfully completed over 500 modernisation 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 modernisation success
    • Full support of your internal team and modernisation project throughout the entire process
    • The tools, software and expertise to deliver a high-quality solution, including discovery and planning processes to minimise the risk of modernisation


    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 optimised to run on a mainframe, it’s only natural to worry about whether performance can be maintained or improved once modernisation has taken place.


    The simple answer is yes; we deliver a truly like for like target state. With over 40 years’ experience in application modernisation, Advanced uses multiple approaches and strategies to ensure modernisation 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. Optimisation takes place in the tooling and not with the resulting code.

  • What’s the first step in modernisation?

    The first step is to arrange an application assessment. It provides stakeholders with valuable insight to inform modernisation 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 modernisation projects fail?

    Many companies begin their modernisation 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 modernisation task reveals itself.


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


    • Disconnect of priorities between technical and leadership teams: Despite the business benefits of modernising, 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: Organisation 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 modernisation effort is solely focused on the operational or system areas without looking at the enablement of employees the result is partial and incomplete modernisation.
    • Inadequate planning: 11% of enterprises have blamed a lack of planning for modernisation 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 modernisation. 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, organisations should consult experienced specialists with modernisation project expertise and demonstrated track records of success to conduct deep assessments and develop air-tight strategies before embarking on any modernisation programme.


    Read 10 steps to ensure a successful mainframe migration.

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

    For the modernisation 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 modernisation 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 modernisation experience.


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


IT Powered Possibility

Advanced is a leading international provider of application modernisation services, with unique expertise in the legacy modernisation market. With more than 500 modernisation projects completed worldwide, and 2.5 billion lines of code processed through our solutions, we have been driving IT efficiency, agility, and competitive advantage for customers through core application and database transformations for over 40 years.

Over that time, we have helped organisations across all sectors including The Department for Work and Pensions, FedEx and The New York Times.