Digital transformation is one of the most important and universally necessary journeys for enterprises to undertake today. Yet it’s also one of the vaguest.
What really goes into digital transformation? What does it mean to completely modernise your IT infrastructure? What is the cost?
Yes, modernising IT infrastructure is a vital step in digital transformation – but it doesn’t have to be a chaotic, costly experience to produce dramatic results. There are several myths around IT modernisation that keep enterprises from moving forward (or at least in the right direction).
Make sure these misconceptions aren’t holding your organisation back from the transformation it needs.
1. You must rip-and-replace legacy systems
Old does not always mean bad – though it can feel that way sometimes in the world of IT. Rip-and-replace projects are expensive, time-consuming, and risky. In many cases, they are also unnecessary.
Despite being a legacy system, the mainframe is still a staple of modern IT infrastructures. In ASG’s 2021 survey report, about half (49%) of respondents say most, if not all, of their core business functions still run on the mainframe – in other words, it is still a reliable, available, serviceable, securable and economical platform.
It’s more cost-effective for enterprises to modernise their mainframes, rather than rip and replace them all together. When asked which tool they need most to modernise their IT infrastructure, 31% of respondents said performance management.
With the right tools, enterprises can gain a deeper understanding of the health of their mainframe, cloud and other distributed systems. That way, enterprises can monitor the performance and capacity of each system in their hybrid IT environment, rather than eliminate them blindly or disrupt the business.
2. The cloud is more cost-effective than mainframe
There is a caveat to this common conception. Many enterprises are moving commodity workloads/systems of engagement – e.g. HR, finance, office productivity, etc. – to the cloud because it’s more cost-effective and efficient.
However, they are keeping systems of record that provide a competitive advantage (e.g., customer data, business IP, business-critical applications based in COBOL, PL/1, Assembler, etc.) on the mainframe. These latter workloads would be too expensive, time-consuming, and risky to migrate to the cloud.
The cloud offers more flexible capacity for commodity workloads that don’t require the mainframe. It is not cost-effective for enterprises to run HR software on the mainframe when they can pay for cloud capacity. By understanding which IT environment best suits different types of workloads, enterprises can find the most cost-effective model.
3. DevOps doesn’t work on the mainframe
It does, in fact – and 58% percent of IT pros say their organisation has already adopted DevOps on the mainframe, and another 30% want to, according to ASG’s 2021 survey report.
More and more enterprises are also adopting DevOps value stream management that includes the mainframe, which improves visibility of end-to-end process flows while also strengthening security.
Enterprises that haven’t successfully applied DevOps to the mainframe likely still use multiple workload automation and scheduling tools to manage siloed operational processes, both on and off the mainframe. This approach definitely is not modern – perpetuating siloes, blind spots, bottlenecks, and inefficiencies. Without a way to manage complex, end-to-end DevOps value streams, enterprises will struggle to integrate mainframe into their hybrid IT strategy.
However, DevOps value stream management platforms are available. Thus enabling large enterprises to design, visualise, automate and orchestrate those DevOps value streams that cross all their enterprise technology stacks from a single console.
With these capabilities, enterprises can truly modernise their IT infrastructure, without needing to rip out the mainframe. They can optimise business process flows, improve resource efficiency, and accelerate the delivery of innovation to their end users and customers.
IT leaders will do well to remember that much, if not most, of the world's most economically valuable code still runs on the mainframe. While we eagerly embrace the new world of cloud-based apps, global banks and other major corporations are executing billions of transactions worth trillions of dollars using their so-called "legacy" systems.
The truth is that mainframe owners have no plans to jettison the platform. In fact mainframe workloads are growing as businesses grow.
Enterprises should make the effort to learn about affordable, pragmatic options that ensure their business' application investments continue to return value.
Praveen Kumar is Senior Vice President and General Manager Asia Pacific at ASG Technologies