Uncover the insights from our recent roundtable, 'The Power of Modernisation,' where we hosted Kyndryl’s Richard Baird, Senior VP and CTO for Core Enterprise and zCloud and Allison Van Pelt, VP Core Enterprise and zCloud Consult. Tim Jones, Managing Director of Application Modernisation at Advanced joined in to provide his insights as well. The group shared insights and opinions developed over years of experience in mainframe modernisation.
To view the full discussion, click here.
Can you tell us more about the influential macro factors that you're seeing over the past 12 months and how they're affecting IT and modernisation decisions?
Allison Van Pelt, Kyndryl: "Throughout the past year, I've observed a myriad of influential macro factors moulding IT and modernisation decisions. From ESG considerations and talent shortages to security issues and the role of AI, these elements have played significant roles. Here are my insights:
- Transformation of user experience and workplace demographics: The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered user experiences and workplace dynamics. Influenced by these changes, companies are reassessing their retail spaces and real estate footprints, which in turn impacts modernisation decisions.
- ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) considerations: Many companies are now prioritising environmental sustainability and setting ambitious carbon neutrality goals. This extends even to the machines running their businesses, including mainframes.
- Balancing cloud migration: Whilst migrating to the cloud offers many benefits, it also requires careful balancing. Improper cloud configurations can lead to escalating costs, pushing more companies towards hybrid approaches that combine mainframe and cloud solutions.
- Talent shortages and skills gap: The IT industry is grappling with talent shortages, particularly in mainframe-related roles. To address this issue, companies are considering partnerships with service providers and external partners.
- Security: Moving data to the cloud introduces security risks. Whilst mainframes are renowned for their robust security, data leaving the mainframe becomes vulnerable. Organisations must address these risks when making modernisation decisions.
- AI and Generative AI: Artificial intelligence (AI) plays a vital role in modernisation efforts. Companies are exploring the benefits and risks of AI implementation, with an emphasis on ensuring responsible and proper use to prevent misuse.”
From a recent Kyndryl survey it was reported that only 1% of respondents were moving everything off the mainframe. Can you tell us more about this shift in perspectives?
Richard Baird, Kyndryl: "Everybody was moving everything off, but as we emerge from COVID, the pendulum has swung back to the middle. The focus now is on a hybrid approach, finding the right platform and workload for modernisation. There are complexities and risks involved regardless of whether you're modernising or moving off. You may come across challenges like locating the source code and ensuring data security in different data centers. As the rest of the world shifts, IT applications and infrastructure are adjusting to the current operating environment.
Cost and technology, such as generative AI, drive this transformation. Generative AI will play a significant role in application modernisation, providing a competitive edge and predicting outcomes. The question becomes how to incorporate generative AI into new or modernised applications securely and effectively. Additionally, the tools used to aid in application modernisation are evolving alongside these changes."
Can you tell us a little bit about the scarcity of expertise challenge, especially with technologies that have such a deep heritage?
Tim Jones: “The scarcity of expertise significantly impacts the decision to modernise and the process itself. As organisations strive to transition to secure, hybrid environments tailored to their specific needs, this challenge becomes more profound. We've seen a growing unsustainability for many organisations due to a lack of resources. There were concerns about job obsolescence due to languages like Java back in the early 90s. Whilst that prediction hasn't fully materialised, the reality is that the talent pool for older languages is dwindling as seasoned professionals retire and fewer newcomers enter the field.
To tackle this issue, some proactive organisations have taken steps. For instance, we worked with a Swedish company that converted their core banking application from a legacy language to C#, whilst retaining their assembler code. They implemented a program to train graduates in that language. However, for many organisations, finding individuals willing to learn these older languages at the start of their careers has become increasingly challenging.”
No matter what kind of modernisation plans you’re considering, Advanced can help you meet your objectives and drastically reduce project risk by harnessing the power of unmatched modernisation expertise and powerful proprietary tools.