This blog is for Mainframe Modernization professionals to discuss and share perspectives, point of views and best practices around key trending topics. Discover the ART and science of mainframe modernization.

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Better Managing Your Modernization Process

There is much that has been debated about legacy modernization, yet this topic continues to stay relevant as enterprises are increasingly challenged by a new, digital, and highly competitive business environment.  The impetus for modernization is no longer borne from a need to reduce costs or upgrade to new technologies, but from a more compelling need to prepare for changing business requirements and future readiness.


Today, technology has become a core aspect of every enterprise, from IT companies to retailers, and is directly shaping business strategy. In preparation for this paradigm shift, organizations can either build new technological capabilities within by hiring required skills or partner with an organization who has the expertise to guide them through the process. Both methods have their pros and cons, though with shrinking time-to-market cycles, the later may seem preferable. Interestingly, Infosys DevOps for Mainframe leverage tools by IBM and Microfocus and created a PoC for a global bank. The tools enabled the bank to save approximately 15% of build effort and reduced storage by approximately 25%.

Legacy modernization to improve user experience of internal stakeholders

With technology changing at a continuous pace, enterprises need to prepare for stakeholders that are not only external, by way of customers, but internal, by way of employees, as well.

With internal stakeholders undoubtedly exposed to smarter technology and smoother user-friendly UX through apps, legacy technology and systems can be the cause of strain as it involves working with manual, time consuming systems.  Thus organizations find themselves at an inflection point when it comes to delivering uniform, high-quality services and experience, across stakeholders. A case in point is how the mainframe modernization team at Infosys helped a large Australian bank decommission complex legacy systems and reclaimed approximately two million AUD.

Technology can make IT a revenue centre

As technology begins to play a more pervasive and decisive role in an organization, technologist and CIOs and going to increasingly have a voice in determining the direction of the organization as their opinions are going to have a direct impact on revenues. IT will no longer be a cost center but a crucial value add, and become the tool that enables organizations to work faster and smarter. The challenge for IT of course will be on how to collaborate with business and develop roadmaps that enable seamless, non-disruptive modernization of legacy systems. This can be a significant challenge as these vast legacy systems have been developed over many years, in a fragmented manner and most organizations do not have a comprehensive understanding of their IT landscape.  Fear of their unknown IT landscape often prevents many organizations from beginning the modernization journey. 

Steps towards effective legacy modernization

Thus when an organization decides to begin modernizing its IT infrastructure, the first thing would be for it to map its IT landscape Organizations need to create a roadmap on what needs to be modernized and set realistic timeframes. Organizations also need to be cognizant of the fact that the pace of modernization is often determined by external forces like competition and the disruption that the industry is going through. For example at a large fashion retailer the landscape is being redefined completely by looking at what functionality will reside where.

A second aspect of legacy modernization is the need for an organization to consciously undergo a mindset and culture change. CIOs need to be closely invested in bringing about this change and there needs to be a buy-in from business leaders to make this top-down process a success. Processes in organizations should support this change - from recruitment to training to performance management.

A third aspect of modernization is risk mitigation. Since modernization is a journey that can take two or three years, organizations need to engage in this process without impacting their customers or internal stakeholders. Additionally, organizations need to be willing to invest and allocate an annual budget towards optimization of critical applications where possible, and legacy modernization where necessary. Budgets are also required to acquire new skill sets that will make this possible, as well.

The fourth aspect is how we can leverage technology advantageously. Cloud and digital are the key destinations of change for all industries. Organizations need to identify applications that can move to the cloud, and the extent to which they can leverage mobile and open source. An organizations business and technical landscape is a key determinant here, and the level of disruption facing that particular industry.

It could start with rehosting applications on the cloud to accelerate performance. We could renew legacy applications by the effective use of DevOps, creating APIs, extreme deconstruction and this transition to a new user experiences.

Leading US based bank improved its business turnover by exposing legacy assets as SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) from multiplatform integration. This enables cross selling as a direct business benefit.

Migrating mainframe batch jobs to Hadoop helped an European CPG company reduce the time it took to reconcile financial statements by 40%.

In summary, mainframe modernization is real and now. How much and at what pace is specific to a client. We have the expertise and technology available today to rapidly move to more open business models and technology architecture.

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