Pandemic accelerated mainframe modernization: report

Dive Brief:

  • More than three-quarters of enterprises began at least one mainframe modernization program as part of their response to the pandemic, according to Advanced’s 2021 Mainframe Modernization Business Barometer Report. The survey, carried out by Coleman Parkes Research, consulted 400 business and IT professionals at enterprise-level companies.

  • In the next one to two years, 87% of enterprises are planning a legacy system modernization program.

  • Flexibility and financial upside are motivating the modernization of some mainframe-based systems. More than half of respondents say legacy modernization helped accelerate digital transformation, while six in 10 say modernizing just one legacy system could cut IT costs by one-third.

Dive Insight:

The mainframe, an advent of 20th century technology, provided companies with heavy-duty and reliable processing capabilities. 

The advancement of cloud computing, along with technical limitations and a short supply of IT talent, has paved the way for enterprise modernization. Nine in 10 companies are concerned about accessing the right IT talent to maintain and manage legacy systems.

Seven in 10 companies on the Fortune 500 run business-critical transactions and data processing mainframes, according to Advanced’s 2020 report. Ninety-two percent of the top 100 banks use mainframes, according to IBM Institute for Business Value.

But the pandemic was a clear incentive for businesses to modernize legacy applications. Needing agility and flexibility from their IT, companies quickly turned to the cloud to deliver on strategic goals. Six in 10 businesses say COVID-19 pushed their cloud transition ahead, according to the Advanced report. 

Though reliable, inflexibility is a challenge with organizations relying on mainframe technology —  70% of respondents say the inflexibility of mainframes limits innovation; and four in five struggle to modify existing mainframe applications, according to a LzLabs and Microsoft report.