COBOL Survey Results Webinar Recap | #COBOL60 Blog


If you missed last week’s COBOL survey results webinar, can catch up on all the important highlights, key stats and expert commentary by viewing the recording available here.  If you were able to attend – THANK YOU for participation and supportive commentary throughout the broadcast.  For those that are still catching up, let’s just recap what took place last week….let’s actually back up a bit further to provide some helpful context too…


On September 10, the industry came together to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the COBOL language. It’s not often in IT that a technology reaches a 60 year milestone AND continues to be in wide use across the globe.  When you pull cash from an ATM, book your next air travel vacation or shop for that new car insurance quote, COBOL is right there—powering the backend business systems that makes that digital experience possible.   Celebrations aside, we felt now was a good time to ask what’s in store for COBOL at 60.  To answer the question, Micro Focus commissioned industry research experts, Vanson Bourne to develop and execute a global survey focused on the future of COBOL and core business systems.  Gathering insights and opinions from a variety of industries and job roles, this Big COBOL Survey delivered a renewed outlook for this language, the technology and the community.  Here are a few of those headlines highlighted last week:

Top Highlights from the COBOL60 Survey

First, and very importantly, COBOL lies at the heart of strategic business change.  Over 92% of organizations surveyed believe that their core business applications, written in COBOL, are strategic.  When we compared those results against a similar 2017 survey, that’s an increase in 8%, so clearly there’s an important link here between COBOL and the business.  Second, modernization is the preferred path to digital transformation.  As every organization attempts to transform as a result of new digital pressures, they are faced with a variety of choices, particularly for core business systems.  Some may consider replacing ore re-writing COBOL applications.  Others may retire or refactor such systems.   Research reveals though that 71% will modernize COBOL in some way – whether it be the application itself, the delivery process or underlying infrastructure.  When we look deeper at the options for COBOL shops, 63% stated that they would modernize COBOL systems in 2020.  Why?  When asked, respondents cited competitive pressures and digital change as top reasons driving modernization in their organization.  It’s quite clear that all things digital demand a new approach to transformation.  For those with COBOL applications, this sheds light on the third key highlight from the survey.  Digital pressures are driving the need for COBOL innovation and integration using the latest technologies.   This is best evidenced by the #1 technology focus for respondents—Cloud.  42% believe that moving to the cloud is their priority in 2020.  COBOL certainly has a role to play here and is ready to support that vision.  The #2 technology focus for respondents are RDBMS integration.  COBOL applications and data processing go hand in hand, as we know, but this renewed focus on data modernization demonstrates a new need for standardized data models and perhaps even compatibility with Cloud and open source data platforms.

What does it all mean for #COBOL?

Looking at the survey results, added to the volume of support for the anniversary celebrations, the outlook is clear:  COBOL lies at the heart of business and has grown in strategic importance.  is the preferred path for transformation and sits alongside the very latest technologies and tools.  And, with such a popular and pervasive technology still powering much of our everyday economy, and with such a pivotal role to still play in this new digital age, some (such as this author) would say why not another 60 years for COBOL?  Seriously, why not.

Learn More, Follow #COBOL60.

You can catch up on all things the #COBOL60 webpage, including access to the webinar replay and key research data points.

Looking ahead, if you’re headed to the SHARE mainframe conference in Fort Worth this week, stop by our #COBOL60 session on Tuesday, February 25 at 3:00pm local time.  We’ll dive into more highlights celebrating this legendary language and explore a few new insights from the survey too.  Hope to see you there.  Until then, watch this space for more exciting news on the next #COBOL 60 event.


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