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Float like a butterfly: Rehosting your mainframe is key to digital transformation

Remember learning how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly when you were young? It emerges as a tiny creature from an egg, grows to the right size, forms itself into a cocoon, and at the right time, the butterfly emerges. Something similar is occurring in the world of technology, and it’s called digital transformation. Over the years, industry experts, analysts, executives, and writers have used tens of thousands of words trying to describe it. However, the Enterprisers Project has a simple definition that distills all the jargon down to “the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers.”

Digital transformation has the potential to turn enterprises into butterflies—able to agilely navigate a changing landscape quickly and lightly. But a significant aspect of their digital footprint is holding them back: the mainframe and its legacy systems and applications. This post explores how to overcome that challenge by making rehosting a key ingredient in your digital transformation.

Just the facts

Forbes says 83% of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud by next year. Meanwhile, Gartner predicts that 50% of global enterprises already using the cloud in some capacity plan to adopt an all-in cloud strategy by 2021. Yet, the butterfly aspect of digital transformation is still elusive for many enterprises in 2019. Why?

Here are some facts from Information Age:

  • The estimated cost of outdated IT systems, of which mainframes are the biggest part, to the U.S. and U.K. economies is $140 billion.
  • 90% of businesses using a mainframe struggle to deliver applications as quickly as they’re needed.
  • 41% of businesses with mainframe systems cite the need to regularly work around their limitations, incurring higher costs, duplicate tooling, and increased security risks.

If you take this information and put it all together, you can see why the mainframe is a major barrier to digital transformation. More than half of core business processes are still running on a mainframe system, but maintaining and relying on these often-antiquated applications are creating cost and modernization challenges. And those challenges make it difficult to progress a digital transformation initiative.

The very hungry caterpillar: Your mainframe

In the digital transformation process, a mainframe is the equivalent of a caterpillar. And the cocoon is what enables your business to be agile with modern, lean, and innovative applications designed for today’s demanding customer; most often, this is the cloud. For a real caterpillar, changing into the cocoon is easy, natural, and part of an almost automatic process.

This is the point where nature and digital diverge. Your core systems and mainframe can’t stop growing on their own, and therefore they can’t easily move to the next stage. What you have, then, is a very hungry computing caterpillar: one that keeps eating, growing larger and fatter, long after it should have moved on. Meanwhile, the cocoon that is needed for digital transformation can’t fully form. So, what has to happen next is a process that enables the mainframe and its legacy core applications to turn into something that enables digital transformation instead of holding it up.

Fortunately, there is such a process. And it’s easier and faster than you think.

Getting to the cocoon: Mainframe rehosting

When a mainframe is the roadblock to digital transformation, three options for removing the barriers are usually suggested: rewriting, code conversion, and rehosting. Rewriting is the riskiest and has the highest cost. Code conversion is also risky because the results will not be exact. Think of both options as trying to create another form of the caterpillar to force it into the cocoon.

By contrast, rehosting, which moves your mainframe to an open system or the cloud, should be the cornerstone of your digital transformation. Here are just a few of the reasons why:

  • No replacement is required: Your legacy source code and programs are recompiled in a new environment without changes to the business logic.
  • Rehosting is fast and low-risk: You can be done in as little as 9 months instead of the 3–5 years needed for rewriting or code conversion. The mainframe moves as-is, so the risk is minimal.
  • Investment in innovation increases: When you are not spending millions of dollars on mainframe maintenance, you can use those dollars to innovate.
  • Slow or no response is a thing of the past: A secure, high-performance, and flexible environment scales based on business demand so that end users are not waiting or giving up.

In a nutshell, rehosting delivers the mainframe modernization you need for real, lasting, and impactful digital transformation.

Butterflies are free: How rehosting speeds digital transformation

Rehosting delivers a fast, flexible foundation for quickly responding to market change and future integration requirements. Companies, customers, and employees can be more creative and get more done with up-to-date, nimble, and responsive applications. Your applications run in a modern architecture, positioning your organization for even greater agility, growth, and competitive advantage. You can also take advantage of the hottest technology such as reusable components, microservices, and containers that can improve all areas of your business.

Rehosting enables your enterprise to meet the Enterprisers Project definition of digital transformation. You have a solid foundation for integrating digital technology in all corners of your business so that you can optimize operations and deliver more value to your customers.

Ready to dig deeper into digital transformation?

If you’d like more details about mainframe modernization, rehosting, and digital transformation, read our eBook, Lift, Shift and Modernize: Proven Mainframe Modernization Strategies that Enable Digital Transformation.

Kelly McClure is the Vice President of Global Marketing for TmaxSoft. Her 20-year marketing career spans both Fortune 1000 companies and fast growth technology startups. Kelly is responsible for leading TmaxSoft’s marketing strategy. She is experienced in aligning marketing and sales, building relevant content and messaging and developing integrated lead generation campaigns. Before joining TmaxSoft, Kelly served as the Vice President of Marketing for 10th Magnitude and held senior marketing roles with DataStax, BMC Software and Micro Focus. Kelly has a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and an MBA from Loyola University Chicago.