The shock of the new – Addressing the unexpected impacts of modernization

Nothing moves on faster than technology. We can probably all agree that the pressure to modernize in the world of IT is both inescapable and ongoing. The difference lies in how we address the issue – and the solution may not be where you’re looking.

An objective perspective

Application development tools really can address the challenges of modernization. And that’s not us talking. It’s the view of this recent – and objective – CIC Report which describes this phenomenon in detail. It’s also the subject of this blog, and the supporting webinar.

So how do industry analysts Creative Intellect Consulting, who research trends in the software market, suggest countering the unexpected impacts of modernization? Is ‘doing nothing’ a sensible option in resolving the problems of out-of-date infrastructure, inefficient ‘legacy’ development tools and the ongoing skills crisis?

Impact assessment statement

As motorists and lottery winners will attest, the phrase “unexpected impact” can mean different things. For the purposes of the CIC report, we’re talking about the good kind – where help arrives from an unexpected source. But help with what, exactly?

It’s the contemporary IT dilemma: striking a balance between keeping the lights on today and innovating for the future. Organizations reliant on IT scarcely need reminding that, as CIC point out, competition and technology “place relentless pressure on organizations”. ‘Must-have’ mobile technologies are particularly demanding of up-to-the-minute functionalities. It’s hard to keep up – and if you don’t, your competitors will simply pull ahead of you. That, at least, is not an option.

Keep calm and carry on …

One thing is clear. Keeping pace – or doing nothing – will cost you. “Sweeping change is expensive and disruptive”, but doing nothing might cost you your business – as it falls further and further behind. Let’s assess the impacts and possible resolutions of ‘doing nothing’.

Using obsolete hardware and outdated software alone is risky. Combining the functionality of current core systems and the adaptability of new architectures enables businesses to keep up with hardware, software, databases, middleware and security advancements, reducing the risk. A complex application portfolio means high MIPs, so increasing productivity will keep maintenance backlog at bay and make more room for MIPS.

Or do something new?

CIC acknowledge that ‘legacy’ tools for maintaining software development are “less capable, less integrated and less productive than those for mainstream languages”, but new technologies can bridge the gap between older and newer languages. ‘Legacy’ systems working with the latest advancements? Now that could work.

The IT industry’s silo mentality reduces efficiency and productivity. COBOL and Java skills are not being cross-pollinated between teams for example. With cross-language application development, quality improves and competitiveness increases with it.

There will be further blogs, but those looking for a speedy resolution could do worse than keep reading. Softening the blow of modernization within the application development environment is close at hand….

Impact protection

The latest application development environments – Visual Studio and Eclipse – bring contemporary functionalities to the mainframe space.  According to CIC, the Micro Focus Enterprise Product Set straddles old and new by bringing “legacy language support to the mainstream (with) state-of-the-art IDEs”. Businesses use the latest application development tools to cut the maintenance backlog, improve productivity, and keep up with the pace of change.

By increasing productivity, the tools introduce new options for modernization strategies. As the seemingly permanent backlog of maintenance tasks diminishes, more room for development and innovation is created. With a modernized infrastructure and productive teams, inefficient ‘legacy’ development tools are a thing of the past. And as CIC acknowledge, “then you have options.”

The next blog unravels some typical modernization strategies and the options involved. It will reveal how analyzing and understanding your application portfolio will map out the innovative opportunities you need to absorb the modernization impact.

Until then – download your report, book your place on the webinar – and keep your seat belts secured.

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