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What Do Mainframe Modernizations and Drill Bits Have in Common?

Scott Kitlinski
May 22, 2019
4 min

On the surface this sounds like a silly question.

But is it? In the early 1980s the legendary Harvard Professor Theodore Levitt asserted the simple idea that "people don't want quarter-inch drill bits; they want quarter-inch holes.” The same can be said of technology: technology itself is not what matters. What does matters is providing a means to conduct business in the most efficient and effective manner possible – and that enabling must be able to evolve rapidly. The reality is that the cloud is the new mainframe; it is the killer way to enable the results organizations want.

As the mainframe to cloud experts,

the Astadia team is in constant dialogue about modernizing applications and migrating them to the cloud. The table stakes requirements throughout the history of information technology have been stability, manageability and scalability. With the advent of cloud computing the stakes have been raised to include:

· Flexibility and elasticity to enable the velocity of the business

· Sustainability related to technology and skills availability

· Enhanced processes

· The ability to leverage data with current and coming analytics

· Economic advantage

· Persistent innovation

· Continuous modernization

When the conversation turns to “We are in the cloud. What's next?” the answer sounds trite, but it is true: “It does not matter. What is next is what you want or need because that is the inherent value of cloud computing.” In fact, once in the cloud the thing that provides value may not have existed when you began the journey.

The present focus of many of our clients is all about the data. The focal points include Business Intelligence, Artificial Intelligence, Predictive Analytics, Machine Learning and the vast array of related technologies which provide organizational advantage. The potential insights and ease of achieving them with augmented analytics tools and natural language processing are unlike what most business people have been able to imagine.

One Giant Leap…

Mainframe Modernization is not rocket science:

but it can seem that way when considering the journey. Astadia recently published a blog article titled Mainframe Transformation: 6 Risks & Rewards you NEED to Know. In that discussion we explored the reality that the risk of NOT migrating now exceeds the risk of migrating; and we dive into the people, financial and business risks. Addressing the fundamental risks by becoming mainframe independent is like escaping the earth’s gravity for space exploration. It is a significant accomplishment and comes with its own benefits; but it does not create the “one giant leap” moment for the organization. It is the first part of the journey from which real technology innovation and business advantage can be achieved.

Freeing an organization of the mainframe and its language constraints opens-up a world of possibilities to raise the stakes as previously stated. Uniquely, the cloud also enables organizations to be architecturally and business advantaged in terms of speed, agility, and economic flexibility.

So, often people focus solely on modernizing the mainframe applications and migrating to the cloud. A good journalist would call that burying the lead. Yes, getting off the mainframe and eliminating the risks related to skills availability and enjoying better economics are very important. But enjoying the vast capabilities and opportunities enabled by cloud computing is the major attraction. I was once given the advice “don’t run from something, run too something.” Modernizing from the mainframe to the cloud is one of those rare cases where you get to do both. And that is transformational.

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Scott Kitlinski

CIO and SVP of Services
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