Uncover the insights from our recent roundtable, 'The Power of Modernization,' 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 Modernization at Advanced joined in to provide his insights as well. The group shared insights and opinions developed over years of experience in mainframe modernization.
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 modernization decisions?
Allison Van Pelt, Kyndryl: "Throughout the past year, I've observed a myriad of influential macro factors moulding IT and modernization 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 modernization decisions.
- ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) considerations: Many companies are now prioritizing environmental sustainability and setting ambitious carbon neutrality goals. This extends even to the machines running their businesses, including mainframes.
- Balancing cloud migration: While 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. While mainframes are renowned for their robust security, data leaving the mainframe becomes vulnerable. Organizations must address these risks when making modernization decisions.
- AI and Generative AI: Artificial intelligence (AI) plays a vital role in modernization 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 modernization. There are complexities and risks involved regardless of whether you're modernizing 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 modernization, providing a competitive edge and predicting outcomes. The question becomes how to incorporate generative AI into new or modernized applications securely and effectively. Additionally, the tools used to aid in application modernization 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 modernize and the process itself. As organizations 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 organizations due to a lack of resources. There were concerns about job obsolescence due to languages like Java back in the early 90s. While that prediction hasn't fully materialized, 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 organizations have taken steps. For instance, we worked with a Swedish company that converted their core banking application from a legacy language to C#, while retaining their assembler code. They implemented a program to train graduates in that language. However, for many organizations, finding individuals willing to learn these older languages at the start of their careers has become increasingly challenging.”
No matter what kind of modernization plans you’re considering, Advanced can help you meet your objectives and drastically reduce project risk by harnessing the power of unmatched modernization expertise and powerful proprietary tools.