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Cloud computing continues as one of the hottest topics in IT, but the mainframe remains a bedrock of global business—and that’s not likely to change any time too soon.
A survey of 500 business leaders confirms the line of thinking.
Kyndryl commissioned the survey for a pulse on what the leaders and their teams think about mainframe transformation and application modernization. The survey is basis for Kyndryl's 2023 State of Mainframe Modernization Survey Report.
Here are five of the top takeaways from the survey:
1. For 90% of respondents mainframe is key to their business operations.
This is consistent with our customer base, with whom we see three consistent paths to mainframe modernization:
- Modernizing on the mainframe
- Integrating with the mainframe
- Moving off the mainframe
Almost all survey respondents say their organizations are taking a hybrid approach, using different approaches for different components of their IT infrastructure.
2. 95% of respondents are moving some workloads to the cloud.
On average, respondents are moving 37% of their applications off of the mainframe. The top three advantages they seek in doing so are:
- Faster time to market
- Improved performance
- Improved innovation
Of interest is that just two of the survey respondents reported moving all their applications off the mainframe.
“We have still kept mainframe for core applications like processing of transactions, as the number of transactions taking place daily are huge.”
3. No matter the approach, mainframe modernization consistently generates returns.
An average annualized cost savings of at least $23.3 million was expected as a result of mainframe modernization.
The average cost of a mainframe modernization project is 3.9% of an organization’s IT budget. And on average, businesses become 9% more profitable by modernizing on mainframe, 11% more profitable by integrating with other platforms, and 11% more profitable by moving off the mainframe.
4. Only 14% of the organizations surveyed say that their mainframe modernization project is complete.
As one respondent, a line of business executive at a North American insurance company, noted: “We usually prefer external partners for modernization of our on-premises mainframe systems. We are still in our initial phase of modernizing therefore we lack expertise for handling the internal modernization of mainframe hence we need to receive help from external partners.”
The comment resonates because mainframe modernization is fit-for-purpose journey that often requires experience with hybrid platforms, security and resilience, and other specializations.
“We usually prefer external partners for modernization of our on-premise mainframe systems. We are still in our initial phase of modernizing therefore we lack expertise for handling the internal modernization of mainframe hence we need to receive help from external partners.”
5. Security, unsurprisingly, tops respondents’ concerns.
Respondents’ top security concerns for mainframe environments are:
- Data loss
- Account hijacking
And for cloud environments:
- Data breaches
- Account hijacking
- Data loss
“When it comes to security, both mainframe and cloud environments have their own strengths and weaknesses. Mainframes usually have robust security features and have been used for decades to store and process sensitive data. Mainframes have multiple layers of security controls that are integrated into the hardware and software, making it difficult for attackers to gain unauthorized access. Cloud environments offer a different set of security advantages. Cloud providers invest heavily in security measures such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and encryption technologies.”
Download the report
In Kyndryl’s work with customers, we find many do not choose a single approach to modernization—either staying on or moving off the mainframe. They explore hybrid models that prioritize the right workload on the right platform.
Consider our recommendations to reap more benefits from the mainframe, and download a copy of the Kyndryl's 2023 State of Mainframe Modernization Survey Report.
Shelley Westman is Vice President of Business Development and Go-to-Market for Kyndryl.