When Applications Mean Business – Visual COBOL 2.2.1



Changing a complex IT estate for the better can be anything but easy – but the value of those applications, and smarter ways of extracting that value, can make this a sound business bet, as Ed Airey explores.

For many organizations, the IT function has provided incalculable value over the years, through innovation in support of the business. The result of this tremendous effort is untold, enduring business value. One executive we know proudly boasts that his IT strategy “is the reason we are still in business today”.

However, a natural by-product of such investment is a very complex IT environment.  In any organization of any size, regardless of technical strategy or bias, the IT estate is typically a wide array of disparate, heterogeneous systems, tied together by a delicate fabric of dependencies and relationships. It makes the understanding, prioritization, resourcing and change of enterprise applications extremely difficult.

“How did it get like this?” one CIO is quoted to have said to another. “It got like this one good decision at a time.” Reality in IT, more often than not, is that demand for change takes place against a backdrop of complexity, cost and very likely, confusion.

Barriers to Change

The difficulty for many organizations is that it is hard to focus, amid a landscape of changing priorities and strategic goals.  For most organizations: the majority of budget is spent on “keeping the lights on” – the day-to-day running of the organization. Recent research by Vanson Bourne (2013) puts the dollar figure for resolving the backlog – or IT debt – at an average of $11M per organization, an average which has grown by nearly 30% in less than two years.

While the IT backlog is getting larger, unprecedented levels of regulatory scrutiny in many industries is producing an array of compliance measures and controls – with fixed deadlines, all adding to the IT burden. Failure to comply is not an option.

With the majority of IT focus on ‘keeping the lights on’ and adding compliance controls, this provides very little time and budget for new innovation – innovation required to remain competitive and keep one’s competitive advantage. Innovation such as mobile computing initiatives, better customer management, social media, big data and Cloud, as examples, are left untouched by these organizations focused on day-to-day operational tasks.   How does that organization keep pace with this need for change and need for new technology adoption?

The Application is Key

The solution starts with a return to first principles, a return to what has worked in the past and has served that organization well to date – its applications.   Sure, language choices, tooling, skills, and processes are all important, but fundamentally the APPLICATIONS you have today, and the data they connect to are the very cornerstone of business success.

If it were only that simple!  As we’ve already mentioned, every day IT faces new challenges, as new business initiatives surface requiring an ever increasing level of functionality and agility.  Aligning existing applications to new requirements is often anything but easy. So how can IT continue to deliver value as quickly as it needs while protecting the investment in competitive advantage that its core applications represent?

Building Bridges

What if there was a technology that could enable organizations to tackle the day-to-day challenges of IT, but also embrace the constant wave of modern technology – bridging the old with the new?  After all, with the core apps written in COBOL, but the new world of IT in managed code, running on mobile devices, deployed into the cloud… where would we begin?

What if there was a way?

Enter stage left Visual COBOL.  An unrivalled technology that helps IT tackle the everyday challenges of skills, resourcing, and development efficiency, while creating a bridge to mobile, cloud and new architecture innovations.  Bridging the two worlds together, allowing the organization to drive more value from existing core assets and delivering a new era of innovation.

Getting Better Every Year

Micro Focus is the only vendor continually investing tens of millions of dollars each year in COBOL application development technology. The result is a consistent stream of new capabilities to help our customers innovate faster. The latest incarnation, Visual COBOL 2.2.1, is now available.  For our Net Express and Server Express customers, this Visual COBOL update provides even further compatibility to accelerate their transition, and delivers new capabilities to address the IT challenges of today while embracing the innovative technologies of tomorrow.  See what all the excitement is about – take the Visual COBOL Screen Test.  See why people are saying Visual COBOL is the Future of COBOL. Interested in a test drive?


Download a Free Visual COBOL 2.2.1 trial today.



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