The CASE for Modernizing CA Gen
Blog //04-07-2023

The CASE for Modernizing CA Gen

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

This blog outlines the importance of modernizing your CA Gen environment and the different ways we can help implement this change.

Formerly known as IEF, Composer, COOL:Gen, Advantage:Gen, and AllFusion Gen, CA Gen is a Computer Aided Software Engineering (CASE) application development environment that offers code generation into more commonly-recognized languages such as COBOL. Originally developed in the 1980s, the tool was acknowledged for reducing software development time and costs through its streamlined environment and interface. But these applications generate significant tangible costs associated with hardware and licensing, and the impact on internal resources can result in higher strategic costs.

On top of this, no significant features have been added to CA Gen in over a decade, and - as is the case with many other mission-critical applications running on legacy systems - there is no roadmap for significant feature improvement either. CA Gen’s development roadmap also doesn’t accurately reflect the value of the data stored on the platform; unlike its modern equivalents. And perhaps most critically of all, the talent pool is shrinking. Older generations of developers are retiring, and younger generations are not being equipped with the proper knowledge to maintain these legacy applications. With all this considered, it’s never been more crucial to start thinking about modernizing your CA Gen environment.

Navigating the market

We understand that the breadth of modernization options can seem daunting at first. Commercial off-the-shelf packages offer standard domain business processes that often differ from the homegrown mainframe application they are meant to replace. Reuse of existing business logic isn’t possible meaning some level of business process re-engineering or customization is needed.

Re-engineering, also known as rewrite, is the most expensive and risky solution for CA Gen modernization. It includes requirement capturing, coding, debugging, testing and refining. To recreate the legacy solution’s wealth of functionality with newly written application code that is stable and error-free requires significant time and effort.

If your teams want to take advantage of agile development methodologies such as DevOps, it is important to choose a solution that produces maintainable code. Our Automated CA Gen Refactoring solution delivers a modern approach with 100 per cent like-for-like functionality based on fully maintainable open systems. Our automated process references the CA Gen encyclopedia (not the generated COBOL) to ensure best-in-class, object-oriented code generation and maintainability. This reduces costs, allows for deeper integration, and best of all, once refactored, developers can extend functionality in Java or C# directly, without having to navigate CA Gen or the code it generates.

Defining and refining your focus

A detailed analysis of legacy applications and databases is essential for risk mitigation and proper decision-making in any CA Gen modernization effort. By engaging in a ‘spring cleaning exercise’, which we refer to as an Automated Assessment, you reduce the potential of cost overrun by understanding the inner workings of the project earlier. You are able to set more realistic timelines, and understand the impact of scope and time on the level of effort required to be successful. Organizations can also carve out the pieces of the legacy system that are no longer used and remove them from the scope of modernization entirely.

We offer an extensive automated mainframe assessment solution that will help you narrow the scope of your legacy application migration and shine light on the business rules hidden in the black box of the legacy environment. Our Automated CA Gen Refactoring solution delivers a modern, easily maintainable Java or C# application based on fully maintainable open systems.

Further resources


Application Modernization Application Modernization and Migration Assessment IT Services Application Modernization Application Modernization and Migration Application Modernization Strategy Application Re-architected and Reintegration Application Understanding Blog
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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