Nothing but blue skies: How two retailers took legacy apps to the cloud to boost agility and increase ROI - TmaxSoft
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Nothing but blue skies: How two retailers took legacy apps to the cloud to boost agility and increase ROI

The most successful and competitive retailers use the latest technology to reach customers, develop promotions, monitor sales and transactions, analyze data, and more. Therefore, it’s impossible to picture any retailers beating competitors without a digital arsenal at their disposal. Why? Because going digital delivers agility, enabling retailers to respond quickly when the market changes or customers crave the next best things.

Your savviest competitors are winning customers and keeping them loyal by delivering what they want—fast. They use the cloud, modern architectures, platforms as a service, NoSQL databases, containers, data lakes, and microservices to provide customers what they want, when they want it. For the agility you need to win and keep the hearts and minds of your customers, it’s time to consider giving your older technology a rest and creating a modern architecture in the cloud.

Mainframe rehosting is a quick and painless way to make this move. Rehosting migrates your mainframe assets to the cloud fast and with minimal risk. Your applications work as-is with no changes to the underlying business logic or user interface. Not only are there cost savings, but you also gain greater flexibility and can better address peak workloads. Recently, two long-time, name-brand retailers rehosted their mainframes on the cloud with impressive results. These are their stories.

A leading U.S. integrated retailer finds the silver lining in a private cloud

A U.S. retailer that’s been in business for more than a century focuses on seamlessly connecting the digital and physical shopping experiences, so its customers find what they need wherever, whenever, and however they want to shop. It has a social shopping platform that rewards its members for shopping at its brands and other retail partners. It operates through several subsidiaries, with full-line and specialty retail stores across the U.S.

The customer's ten core business systems (9500 MIPS) were housed in six IBM mainframes. Each year, licensing fees and the costs of maintaining the mainframes and their massive footprint of 93,271 batch processes increased significantly. The company was taking a big hit in IT expenses. And, the tightly coupled environment was difficult to manage and preventing business agility.

With a mandate to reduce costs without affecting user experience, the company was looking for a different approach that included a more manageable environment. After reviewing the options, the retailer chose TmaxSoft OpenFrame for a "lift and shift" rehosting solution for its core applications. The ten systems were migrated off the IBM mainframe to a private Linux cloud environment. In addition, the retailer moved 24 IMS applications that included critical core applications for POS advertising, cash and sales, transportation, inventory, returns, ordering, and much more.

As a result of rehosting, the retailer reported a significant reduction in TCO, a 50% reduction in costs, and an increase in ROI when compared to the mainframe environment. In addition, the retailer is able to address ever-changing customer expectations with innovation and agility.

Direct mail and ecommerce retailer leaves its legacy in the clouds

One of the largest direct marketers in the United States operates a conglomerate of famous catalog brands. Direct mail and online orders generate 94% of its sales, which is due, in part, to offering instant and other credit options to their customers.

The retailer had six core business systems (700 MIPS) that were housed on an IBM mainframe. This closed environment was preventing the company from meeting the performance expectations of increasingly tech and mobile savvy consumers. The mainframe was holding the company back at a time when being nimble and responsive to market changes with innovative solutions. It was time for a change. To address these challenges quickly and without rewriting applications, this retailer decided to rehost its mainframe on the AWS cloud with TmaxSoft OpenFrame.

The project was massive, and included moving all legacy applications to the cloud, interpreting the mainframe’s 3,685 COBOL applications and 327 mainframe assembler programs, migrating the mainframe’s 867 middleware and on-premises CICS transactions and 5,766 batch processes, and modernizing 4,741 datasets and 400 datacom tables. One of the key applications that was required to move forward with the rehosting project was a packaged financial suite. TmaxSoft teamed up with the customer and vendor and enabled the Assembler-based proprietary software to run flawlessly in production.

And the results? The retailer reports an annual cost reduction of approximately 75% and a significant increase in ROI compared to the mainframe. Most importantly, the companyh now has the infrastructure for innovation and business agility.

What can rehosting offer your retail business?

The mainframe was designed to process straightforward transactions and store the data retailers needed to do business in the past. But this is no longer enough.

As these stories have shown, rehosting on the cloud can invigorate core systems, delivering high returns on investment, lowering costs, and enabling the agility needed to create innovative solutions that delight customers. In addition, it offers the performance, reliability, scalability, elasticity, and availability needed in an always-on retail world. To learn more, visit

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.