In today’s fast-paced digital world, organisations need to be highly adaptive and agile to keep up. Many, if not all, have accelerated digital transformation efforts to compete and better serve customers. More of the same is expected in 2023, with the International Data Corp predicting that IT spend among Asia Pacific organisations will be 3.5 times the value of the entire regional economy.
While Rocket Software’s State of the Mainframe survey shows that the reliability and superior security of the mainframe is still valued by IT professionals, many organisations are moving to a cloud-first, hybrid approach in a bid to simplify processes and streamline workflows.
A major challenge with this, however, lies in the integration of legacy core applications with those in the cloud because of the former's limited interoperability. Utilising application programming interfaces (APIs) and software robots to integrate systems and create automation is obvious. What is not as apparent is that it should not be difficult or complicated. Achieving this rests on having a consistent, data-driven plan in place:
Build the foundation of modernisation with process discovery
Armed with a detailed and accurate understanding of a company's mainframe, IT leaders can assess the time and level of effort required for a particular project. As a result, they can reduce the possibility of cost overruns. Visual tools offer the potential to markedly improve process discovery by raising visibility over enterprise workflows.
Meanwhile, having a deeper understanding of how each application is used allows organisations to make informed decisions on the best approach for each: which can be migrated to the cloud and which need to stay on the mainframe. Through the analysis of log data and other information, a thorough process discovery plan can also help organisations identify errors and issues in legacy applications. This, in turn, enables them to quickly diagnose and resolve problems, reducing downtime and improving overall performance and availability.
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Maximise project impact through prioritisation
With a better understanding of their mainframe's workflow and processes, IT teams can proceed with identifying priorities for automation and modernisation improvements. Essentially acting as a guide on where to start, this empowers IT leaders to better strategise. In turn, this will drive continuous delivery against their plans and quickly show bottom-line results to the business.
Utilise RPA to generate more support for modernisation projects
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In line with the need to quickly generate ROI, IT teams can utilise Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to take on repetitive, time-consuming tasks within a workflow. The productivity gains from this will be enormous. First, users are freed to focus on core tasks that benefit the business. Not only that, it can also be utilised for IT teams' own workflows, including the key focus of the modernisation project: transferring mainframe applications to the cloud.
Integrate automation into DevOps
A key challenge in the integration of legacy applications is having to join together a wide array of disparate parts. If something is out of sequence in the build or a step is missed during a deployment, the whole process can break down. Automation is again the answer by integrating automated DevOps into modernisation projects. This enables IT teams to better handle the complexity of connecting all the pieces in a project, while delivering consistent process regardless of platform.
Get the most out of mainframe investments with modernisation
The mainframe remains the choice for many enterprises when it comes to mission-critical operations and systems such as financial transaction processing, supply chain transaction processing, big-data analytics, and management of sensitive information. With a hybrid cloud strategy, companies are able leverage that invaluable technology investment alongside the latest cloud tools.
Modernising in place to drive a hybrid cloud strategy gives decision-makers the best of both worlds. It enables their organisations to meet the evolving needs of the customer alongside implementing an efficient and sustainable IT infrastructure. The investment in cloud solutions bridges the skills gap by reducing the need for increasingly scarce skill sets. At the same time, businesses are not throwing away their investment in existing systems.
Through a data-driven plan that integrates the use of automation tools, companies are able to modernise their application landscape with minimal disruption. Automating workflow processes generate vital support for other projects while reducing errors and delays.
While apprehensions regarding the modernisation of an enterprise's application landscape are understandable, there is actually little reason for decision-makers to be afraid. With the right tools and strategy, organisations can continue to make the most of their mainframe’s reliability and security while taking advantage of the newer technologies that cloud offers, improving overall efficiency and generating greater savings and revenue.
Praveen Kumar is the vice president for Asia Pacific at Rocket Software