zEnterprise series part 1 of 5: Modern Mainframe Development – the Smart Way

04.09.2013

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How can your organization find the resources or capacity, let alone the budget, to innovate as well as keep the lights well and truly switched on? Even with recent investments in zEnterprise and Eclipse, are you getting enough done? The first in a series of five, this blog explores the ways of tackling the mainframe modernization challenges to lead your organization in the smartest direction towards development efficiency and innovation.

zInnovation is the name of the game
The challenge for IT teams is becoming more and more about keeping the business functioning, while catering for future needs: core business functions must be kept up-to-date and innovative technology needs to be woven into the current system. But there are many obstacles on the path to efficiency, and tackling them is no easy task.

Smarter thinking
Picking off the challenges one by one allows you to reach the detail you need and exploit smart technology to address concerns head-on. Let’s focus on the points which have the most impact and how they can be tackled.

Maximize programmer productivity
Traditional mainframe development environments might be widely used, but they are often inadequate in delivering applications faster. Even more recent technology provides some benefits, but the way it eats-up resources and relies on scarce mainframe time seems almost unavoidable.

A smarter approach to bringing development tools together under a single integrated environment is widely known to improve productivity. Instantly detecting and fixing syntax errors, and offering a full function unit test environment with no wait time, ensures that a 40 percent improvement in efficiency can be delivered.

Merging modern methods with trusted processes
While older mainframe tooling might be cumbersome in many cases, they support tried and tested processes including the right levels of third party support and integration, built up over decades. Integrating these existing, mainframe-based non-standard tools and processes into a chosen IDE framework can be tricky and time-consuming. As well as a new set of development skills, a full time resource to maintain and manage the resulting ad hoc infrastructure is often needed.

Enabling familiar, vital processes and tools to be integrated under a single environment allows the very best of the new environment to be married with the robustness and reliability of the existing mainframe delivery environment.

Maintain and grow application quality
Mainframe applications typically provide vital business services and any outages are considered as catastrophic – so maintaining quality is an absolute must.

Identifying and fixing bugs during the unit testing stage is less expensive than leaving it to a later stage in the development cycle. The length of time the test cycle takes can then be reduced. Providing developers with access to advanced testing tools, which can be used without having to rely on mainframe resources, presents a great opportunity to improve quality in the most efficient way. Instantly available unit test environments, a rapid edit/debug cycle, code coverage analysis, and problem diagnostics can all help developers identify and iron out issues long before the quality assurance or acceptance test phases.

Addressing the skills gap
Lack of integration of teams across various languages and platforms is a concern which resonates around the IT development world. Instead of a pool of development staff, IT directors oversee a number of specialised teams with no shared talent. A common example is where mainframe-centric COBOL and web-centric Java teams barely use the same vocabulary, let alone the same tools or processes. By deploying industry-standard integrated environments which the whole development team can use, knowledge and languages will be unified, creating a streamlined environment.

The season’s smart new arrival
Today, Micro Focus launches Enterprise Developer for zEnterprise.

With the launch of Micro Focus Enterprise Developer for zEnterprise, faster delivery of new zEnterprise business functions can enable customers to build truly fit-for-purpose core applications. Directly tackling known barriers to efficiency, this ground-breaking technology can boost mainframe application delivery while simultaneously lowering costs, abolishing bottlenecks and accelerating innovation.

Enterprise Developer for zEnterprise addresses the permanent element of change which exists in the IT industry: modernization is at the heart of meeting evolving business objectives. A refreshed development process must provide core business functions at the lowest operational cost without associated risk. This includes key aspects such as improved code quality, greater flexibility in the mainframe development process, and better cross-group integration across development – showing clear increases in development productivity and efficiency.

It doesn’t stop there
In the ever-changing world of IT, Enterprise Developer for zEnterprise provides an open environment which is more “accessible” to new talent and is capable of unifying enterprise development across the COBOL, Java and .NET communities. Organizations can exchange inefficiency for innovation as this technology provides a sturdy platform for mobile and cloud-based enterprise initiatives.

Enterprise Developer for zEnterprise offers your organization the opportunity to wholeheartedly embrace innovation in the smartest way possible. Your journey to unprecedented levels of productivity and efficiency through mainframe modernization unfolds here.

For more detailed information on how Enterprise Developer for zEnterprise tackles the challenges discussed in this blog, take a look at the white paper: Towards the Modern Mainframe.

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