What does success look like?
The goal of most mainframe modernization journeys is relatively simple: to increase agility alongside the freedom to experiment, quickly join new markets, attract new customers, and rapidly convene ecosystems. In embarking on this path, we have seen a tendency to race full throttle towards a technology-defined finish line, which obscures the original purpose of increased business agility.
As a result, a commonly held misbelief—that mainframe modernization equates to migrating all workloads to cloud—has long prevailed, creating its own challenges. In a 2021 report, Gartner® found that organizations that rush into cloud investments with little to no cost optimization plans are not only unable to derive the value they expect, but they also end up overspending on these services by up to 70%.1
To move forward with confidence, we believe it is crucial for banking leaders to reevaluate mainframe modernization through a fresh lens. This transformation is as much about an individual enterprise’s culture, pain points, and use cases as it is about the overarching IT landscape. The challenge is to find which combination of integrating with mainframe, modernizing on mainframe, or migrating off mainframe will work best for their specific workforce, operations, and workloads.
Here are four fundamentals we often share with our customers to help them start their own mainframe modernization journeys.
1. Adopt a hybrid approach
Day in and day out, we see customers from organizations of all sizes asking themselves the same questions:
- I’ve invested in my mainframe technology for 30+ years and there is a lot of data and business and application logic there that is core to my business. How do I modernize while continuing to use the data and logic on my mainframe to drive my business forward?
- Should I invest further in my mainframe technology—and if so, why and with which technology?
- How do I make the data and logic on my mainframe available to the cloud—and how do I do that in a secure manner? Should I move some or all of my applications and data over to the cloud—and if so, how do I decide which ones?
- How do I modernize my mainframe without compromising on the resilience of my business and our high-security environment?
The first fundamental step of any successful mainframe modernization journey is to find the answers to these questions through the lens of your company’s current application and data estate. Where will investing in, divesting from, or maintaining your mainframe estate create the most value? Which applications are best suited to stay on the mainframe and which will be better suited to move off the mainframe and into a cloud environment? And finally: How can you best combine the benefits of these approaches to address your operational and business needs?
This process is what we mean by a hybrid approach. The goal is to determine which of your workloads will work best on which platform. In other words, it’s all about finding the right platform for the right workload.