Digital transformation is a goal in enterprise information technology, and experts say that mainframe modernisation leads the way to optimize the IT infrastructure of a company. While the mainframe environment is tested and proven to work, various applications are continually evolving and require upgrades wherever possible.

Streamlining Legacy Systems

IT needs are expanding and ever-changing, which is the reason mainframe applications cannot stay static. Legacy systems limit infrastructure from being agile and flexible to quickly and efficiently deploy applications. However, no guarantee on return on investment and migration are some of the reasons that make companies hesitate to streamline their IT systems.

The mainframe is resilient, scalable, and highly responsive, but some transactions and systems work better when applied using commodity servers.

Modernising the mainframe is key to making the most of existing legacy systems. It allows enterprises to adopt an agile approach to business processes and lowers maintenance costs. The result is a positive and more extensive return on investment for your business.

What is Mainframe Modernisation?

Mainframe Modernisation refers to the process of improving or migrating an organization’s existing legacy systems (i.e., IMS/VSAM database, JCL, COBOL/Natural/PL1/Easytrieve, green screens) found in code, interface, performance, cost, and maintenance. There are instances when functionality and code are wholly migrated to newer technologies or in the cloud to enhance business processes.

Most companies are choosing to deal with the risks in exchange for innovation, operational efficiency, and faster time to market. Mainframe modernisation allows companies to leverage better and more robust technologies without forsaking existing legacy systems that also cost a fortune to set up.

The primary purpose of modernising legacies is to get rid of hidden costs and the complexity of outdated systems. For instance, you cannot isolate a single system module and update it exclusively because it can create conflicts across the whole system. Additionally, legacy infrastructure is more costly to maintain, especially since hardware and other resources do not come cheap.

It solves the issue of security breaches. Some outdated systems are not supported by vendors anymore, exposing them to cyber threats, malware, and harmful programs. It also enables compliance and integration of the company’s IT environment that old-fashioned mainframe often lacks.

In contrast to legacy systems, modern technologies are easier to integrate with third-party APIs for additional capabilities like user authentication, geolocation, data sharing, and more.

Another challenge that mainframe modernisation aims to solve is the lack of skilled developers and programmers specializing in the field. Most mainframe experts are nearing retirement age. College and universities have dropped related courses from their curriculum, which makes it necessary to adopt modernised solutions in management and support.

Benefits of Legacy System Modernisation

Why streamline your mainframe if it still works? While you might feel that it’s counterintuitive to upgrade what does the job and functions like usual, there are many advantages to mainframe modernisation that leads your business to the digitization of the IT infrastructure.


Advanced technologies are being developed continually to upgrade legacy systems with lightweight and integrable solutions and advanced computing functions. It gives any enterprise an edge user-wise since they can offer more services to their clients.


Legacy modernisation allows your IT infrastructure to be digitized, helping it be agile and flexible. Your business will always be ready to expand and evolve. It also encourages creativity and innovation to flourish in the organization.

Employee and Client Satisfaction

Improved operational efficiency and responsive UI are perks that will enhance the user experience of both clients and employees. Satisfying both sides of the spectrum ultimately results in better ROI for the business.

Big Data Competency

Living in a data-driven world requires leveraging your existing data and developing sound decisions using such information to compete in the global marketplace. Database optimization and migration can help you tap into significant data opportunities and use them to your advantage.

Reliability and Performance

Legacy systems may be resilient, but they also commonly cause IT faults, such as in air transportation delays. Modernisation reduces the risk of outages and prevents significant losses to the company.

Approaches to Mainframe Modernisation

As a business, you can opt for a tailored modernisation plan that suits your requirements, from budget to benefits and risks. Generally, there are traditional and hybrid approaches you can apply to your legacy modernisation scheme:

  • Traditional Approach. There are 5 R’s that can be used in digitizing outdated systems. You may Retire the existing application, Rehost, by redeploying data to a virtual, physical or cloud infrastructure with an as-is data, functions, and features, depending on your need. Replace existing applications with new and agile ones, or Restructure components without modifying its specifications and scope.
  • Managed Mainframe Service. If you have an existing mainframe, you can hire a third-party vendor to oversee assets, including hardware and software entities within the mainframe. They handle end-to-end management of in-house legacy systems.
  • MFaaS. Mainframe as a service refers to outsourcing a provider’s mainframe and paying on a per-use basis. Components like hardware, data center, software licenses, High-availability and disaster recovery are all owned, maintained and upgraded by the service provider, granting you total risk reduction and avoidance.

Adapting to the Times

It’s not easy to decide whether your company will benefit from turning off all legacy systems that exist in your mainframe. However, it’s also unwise to leave your IT infrastructure as is since the industry is ever evolving. By choosing the right modernisation plan that works for your structure, you will be able to improve your efficiency, agility, and reduce costs, thereby fostering revenue growth for your business. To learn more, send us a message today.

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