During OpenText™ World 2023, attendees were guided on how to unlock value in their application modernization journey. Drawing on OpenText’s experience in helping thousands of customers move their mainframe to the cloud, OpenText experts Neil Fowler, SVP, Application Modernization, and Stuart McGill, VP, Sales, shared insights into successfully migrating legacy applications to the cloud to control costs, manage risks and innovate faster. Neil and Stuart also discussed the role of artificial intelligence (AI) within mainframe and COBOL modernization to help automate various aspects of the modernization journey.
This first of a two-part OpenText blog series highlights top takeaways from Neil and Stuart’s keynote session. You can watch the full 45-minute keynote on demand: Opentext.ai and Mainframe Workload Modernization: Moving to the OpenText Cloud.
The Modernization Journey is Unique
The roadmap to application, process, and infrastructure modernization is often unique – and modernization in these areas can deliver significant cost savings, support IT modernization, and improve time to market. It can also unlock trusted data to leverage AI and machine learning (ML) as part of an organization’s digital business strategy.
At OpenText, our Modernization Maturity Model – developed based on thousands of successful modernization projects – identifies options and recommendations to help our customers deliver value in their individual modernization journey.
Depending on an organization’s primary business drivers, for example infrastructure modernization to leverage substantial innovation in the cloud, there are corresponding changes required in the application and processes to maximise value from the transition. The different approaches help deliver results as part of continuous modernization – enabling the applications and trusted data to be part of the next generation of smarter applications.
Over the years, complexity has grown as enterprises expand from mainframes to diverse environments like public cloud, containers, SaaS, and IoT. Achieving agility and overcoming cultural resistance to change takes aligned planning and investment management to balance costs, potentially through containment or modernization options, which result in reduced spend.
Modernization: A Pragmatic Approach to Digital Transformation
The software ‘rip and replace’ tactic is no longer a viable strategy. Modernization is now seen as a pragmatic approach to digital transformation – allowing faster returns at lower risk. According to a study by Standish Group International, organizations ‘starting from scratch’ had a success/failure ratio of 26 per cent against 20 per cent. ‘Modernizing’ businesses enjoyed a 71% success rate versus a failure rate of just 1 per cent. It’s clear, customizable modernization is the answer.
A pragmatic approach to modernization is essential, from portfolio complexity to the business drivers, and the application strategy:
- Business drivers: Consider the costs, operational risk, standardization, simplification, strategic alignment, and time to market. How do you address these? This needs to be part of your approach.
- Application strategy: Do you retire, replace, retain, rehost, re-platform, or refactor? These are decisions that must be made as part of your modernization strategy.
- Business assessment: Look at the scale, security, availability – in other words the technical drivers. All of this must be taken into consideration when taking on modernization.
Modernization is a Continuous Journey
With OpenText’s extensive history of doing modernization, no competitor has our track record of re-platforming a workload a week for the last 12 years – and adapting to increasingly complex and larger workloads.
Let’s explore the concept of application modernization and starting a continuous modernization journey, leveraging OpenText’s experience and best practices:
- Your current environment has mission-critical applications that have been successfully running your business for decades.
- These applications sit on another software stack that forms part of the z/OS infrastructure, which in turn runs on the hardware platform itself.
- The applications are typically COBOL and Programming Language/I (PL/I), utilizing systems like CICS, IMS, JCL, and DB/2, while being supported by essential systems infrastructure for security, monitoring, job scheduling, and other critical services within your z/OS environment.
At OpenText, our approach is to safeguard significant investment and intellectual property contained in the applications and, with minimal change, move them to run on optimized open system infrastructure software, whether on or off-cloud.
Equivalent system infrastructure software is mapped to the target environment, providing an appliance to host the applications with modern system benefits and the environment to deliver on the benefits of continuous modernization.
OpenText Innovations to Support Infrastructure Advances
OpenText’s application modernization roadmap covers advancing infrastructure, leveraging capabilities in services provided by hyperscalers to help organizations scale in response to customer needs. As applications constantly change, OpenText has extended the COBOL language to make it easier to maintain, refactor, and code slice core functions to make available as APIs.
These enhancements accelerate the modernization journey and simplify the transition to cloud, addressing skill concerns and enabling data to be used as part of ongoing AI strategies and to innovate developer experiences, security, and operations.
What Do Our Customers Say?
- Infosys, an OpenText partner that supports mainframe modernization, used our solutions to deliver substantial benefits including cost savings, detailed impact analysis, streamlined development, and more. Read the Infosys success story.
“Deploying Micro Focus Enterprise Analyzer by OpenText gives our developers rapid insights and complete impact analysis in their customer’s mainframe system. Enterprise Analyzer also provides metrics related to the application size, complexity, criticality, and stability; all great indicators of the technical complexity the application represents.” – Gautam Khanna, Vice President and Head Modernization Practice, Infosys.
- AG Insurance strategically leveraged its COBOL assets with clear onward modernization goals and saw 75 per cent operational cost savings and faster time to market with new customer offerings. Using OpenText’s Enterprise Suite solutions, we supported AG’s large-scale mainframe modernization for an innovative and open environment processing 14 million transactions a day. Read the AG Insurance success story.
“Micro Focus (now part of OpenText) enabled us to build and unify a new data-driven backbone for our company through which we leverage new technologies, such as containerization and APIs to open ourselves safely to our business and technology partners’ systems while continuing our own technological evolution.” PHILIPPE VAN BELLE Chief Information & Technology Officer AG
- Kmart Australia used Micro Focus Enterprise Analyzer by OpenText for modernization. Highlights include increased flexibility and scalability through AWS deployment, innovation-enabled business models and new routes to market, and a $4 million annual operational cost savings. Read the Kmart success story.
“Intelligent data analytics drives data-driven decision-making. Leveraging the new infrastructure, we use machine learning models to more accurately allocate stock to stores, correlating sales directly with seasonal stock projections and loss analysis. We weren’t able to do this until Micro Focus (now part of OpenText™) helped us unlock the valuable data we have.” – Group Head of Merchandizing and Inventory IT, Kmart.
In summary, OpenText’s long-standing experience and innovative solutions address the challenges of modernization, leveraging open system infrastructure software, optimizing processes, and enhancing productivity.