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IT Cost Management Survey from IDG Confirms CIOs Seek Mainframe Extensibility and Cost Control
[August 11, 2014]

IT Cost Management Survey from IDG Confirms CIOs Seek Mainframe Extensibility and Cost Control

ATLANTA --(Business Wire)--

Recent IDG research, commissioned by GT Software, a leader in helping enterprise organizations unify business information across any platform, data format or programming language, reveals that the majority of mainframe customers want more capability for supporting new initiatives, including Web, mobile and customer engagement.

While cost control of mainframe systems and mainframe application development is a top concern, IT leaders also want strategies and tools to make the mainframe extensible by adding functionality with minimal impact on current systems.

The survey, conducted between April and May, was sent to more than 7,500 U.S. technology professionals, including CIOs, CTOs, CSOs, IT and financial managers. The participant's organizations ranged in size from 100 to 20,000+ employees across several industry segments: finance, banking, state and local government, healthcare, insurance, manufacturing, retail, transportation and utilities.

IT Seeks Guidance for Mainframe Cost and Productivity Challenges

When asked to rank top mainframe challenges, maintenance and upgrade costs were cited by 62 percent with operational costs cited by 58 percent. Other significant concerns included: staff familiarity with mainframe programming languages (40 percent); interoperability (34 percent); and access to data for business operations (32 percent).

In terms of top areas to improve productivity of the mainframe, respondents listed: application development and time-to-market (46 percent); IT department backlog (41 percent); transferring data to other sources (29 percent); and batch processing/run time costs (29 percent).

Does Mainframe Modernization Answer the Call?

"The mainframe is a staple for most companies, and this survey points to clear areas of opportunity for CIOs and IT managers to leverage their existing mainframe assets in support of innovation and increased business value," says Scott Lance, president of GT Software.

According to GT Software Vice President of Development Adam Redd, "Modernizing the mainframe, which has long-supported business-critical data and applications, creates tremendous cost savings and increased efficiencies. Moreover, by providing easier access and use of mainframe data for both internal and external customers, IT leaders can invigorae operations and extend the life of their technology investment while creating new revenue opportunities."

Mainframe servers continue to play a significant role in the global IT infrastructure. According to recent information from SHARE Inc., 96 percent of the world's top banks, 23 percent of the Top 25 U.S. retailers, and nine out of 10 of the world's largest insurance companies run on IBM (News - Alert) System z mainframe servers, and mainframe systems process about 30 billion transactions per day.

Is Migration Away From the Mainframe the Key?

More than half of the respondents (54 percent) plan to migrate to new computing platforms in the next few years. The top drivers of migration include: performance improvements (54 percent); modernizing user interfaces (50 percent); added flexibility to access data (50 percent); and lowering costs (48 percent).

"Those considering new computing platforms should use a proven methodology to analyze their options from a revenue and performance standpoint before making a switch," advises Mr. Lance. "Strategic decisions about legacy migration or modernization should always be based on a formal system assessment. This proven approach provides visibility into existing system dependencies, evaluation of cost/potential savings, time frame projections and risk. If the decision to migrate is made, there should be further investigation of the tools available to make the transition fast, easy and seamless."

Code Conversion Critical to Removing Obstacles & Improving Interoperability

More than 42 percent of respondents currently run COBOL applications on the mainframe. These COBOL users cited a need to increase performance and create mobile and Web interoperability. However, the time and expense of converting COBOL code to a language that runs on a distributed environment was also noted as a concern.

"For mainframe users wanting to transition COBOL applications to render on a mobile device without the painstaking task of converting years of COBOL code to other languages, the news is good" said Redd. "For these companies, both easy modernization (with mobile-enabling integration tools), and migration to the .NET (News - Alert) platform via NetCOBOL can offer cost saving and effective solutions."

IT to Support Business Innovations in Demand

At its highest level, the IDG research showcases the reality of concerns for today's IT departments, in particular the mainframe's challenges and opportunities for playing a key role in supporting new business initiatives," concluded Lance. "No matter what the strategy, modernization or migration, IT must drive innovation by providing seamless access to the business-critical data needed to create innovative, flexible Web or mobile platforms and improve customer engagement."

About GT Software

For more than 30 years GT Software has helped enterprise organizations align their IT infrastructure with business strategy by unifying business information across mainframe and emerging server platforms, data formats or programming languages. More than 2,500 organizations across the globe trust GT Software's solutions to improve customer experiences, operational efficiency and innovation. For more information, visit

GT Software and all other GT Software products and service names are registered trademarks or trademarks of GT Software. All other trademarks or registered trademarks belong to their respective companies. © 2014, GT Software. All rights reserved.

About IDG

International Data Group (IDG) is the world's leading technology media, events and research company. Founded in 1964 and headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, IDG products and services reach an audience of more than 280 million technology buyers in 97 countries.

IDG Communications' global media brands include ChannelWorld®, CIO®, CSO®, Computerworld®, GamePro®, InfoWorld®, Macworld®, Network World (News - Alert)®, PCWorld® and TechWorld®. IDG's media network features 460 websites, 200 mobile sites and apps, and 180 print titles spanning business technology, consumer technology, digital entertainment, and video games worldwide.

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