Four ways an Automated Assessment can help you modernize your mainframe
Blog //04-12-2020

Four ways an Automated Assessment can help you modernize your mainframe

by Rob Anderson, Vice President of Marketing and Product for Application Modernization

Astoundingly, 71 per cent of the Fortune 500 depend on mainframes for their business-critical transactions and data processing. But because legacy systems have passed through many hands over many years - often without proper documentation of features or functional relationships - the skillsets required to maintain and run these applications are disappearing; driving up maintenance costs and making planning a modernization effort incredibly difficult as a result.

An Automated Assessment provides an accurate and detailed understanding of the mainframe environment, which is essential for risk mitigation and proper strategic technological planning. Read on to find out how a mainframe assessment can help your organization to lay the foundations for a successful legacy modernization program.

Reduced application footprint and scope

Almost inevitably, any system that acts as a transaction engine for core business functions over a long period of time will be augmented, tweaked, and extended multiple times by a multitude of developers. This can result in a gradual but significant build-up of millions of lines of dead and unused code over time. Adding to this problem is the fact that the way many companies do business has changed fundamentally since they purchased their original mainframes. This is due to technological innovation and the fact that the internet has completely revolutionized the way most transactions are processed.

In a survey of 21 Advanced customers from 2019, we saw an average footprint reduction of 50 per cent after a mainframe assessment, with several of our customers seeing a reduction of more than 75 per cent. For GE Capital, who saw an incredible footprint reduction of 78 per cent in their PMS suite, this reduced the scope of their modernization program significantly, decreased disaster recovery time by 240 per cent and reduced operating costs by 66 per cent.

Reduced cost

Because of their architecture, legacy systems do not integrate well with modern-day IT environments, so what used to take a matter of hours (or even minutes) to resolve, can now be a weeks-long battle. In-depth application understanding provides both business and tactical teams with instant insight into application flow, cross-program or intra-program flow, and even field-level usage across the entire enterprise. This mitigates risk through the visualization of the impact of change and ultimately drives maintenance costs down.

Reduced risk

Due to the complexity of legacy systems and the resources supporting them, IT leadership often chooses to ‘kick the can’ of modernization down the road. The reality, however, is that these systems are ticking time-bombs, poised to explode at any given moment. Doing nothing to address the problem is far riskier than doing something.

An Automated Assessment brings complete visibility to the legacy system by providing the tools to inform entire teams about any set of applications, allowing them to anticipate potential roadblocks effectively. This eliminates the risk associated with reduced or retiring staff. Furthermore, developers can visualize the impact of a change and predict its outcome with only minutes of effort prior to production deployment.

Informed decision making

Mainframe assessments take the guesswork out of enhancement planning by providing a complete picture of the contents and interrelationships between application components. Details regarding use of third-party utilities and products in both batch and online applications are organized and presented alongside findings and decisions pertaining to target operational and infrastructure setup. All of this information is harnessed to co-ordinate a refined project plan, which kicks off the modernization process.

The depth of source environment understanding that comes with comprehensive assessment and visibility is directly related to an organization’s ability to plan for and implement successful maintenance and modernization strategies. This means that CIOs, Enterprise Architects and Developers can focus on areas in need of particular concentration.

“Once you do the pre-work – and that’s why I stress that assessment so much – the build is easy… we found languages that nobody knows anymore, so it was critical information and reduced the cost and the scope of the project greatly.” Marc Rubel, Director of Application Development at GE Capital

If you’re interested in learning more, watch our on demand webinar ‘Know the details, reduce the risk: How to begin your mainframe modernization journey’. Supported by real-life case study examples, we share a full breakdown of our Automated Assessment service and insight into the technology as a first step towards legacy modernization.

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Rob Anderson

Rob Anderson


Vice President of Marketing and Product for Application Modernization

Rob Anderson is Vice President of Marketing and Product for Application Modernization. He has spent the better part of the past decade developing, marketing, and selling mainframe modernization solutions, and has had a front-row seat in the transformation of the industry and its surrounding ecosystem.

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