On July 8, a Compuware software architect named Gary Michalek walked into my office and described a brilliant product idea he’d come up with over the fourth of July weekend.

On October 1, we’ll release the initial version of that product.  That’s just 84 days from idea to innovation.

And, yes, we’re a mainframe software company.

It can be done

Compuware’s delivery of an innovative mainframe solution in less than 90 days demonstrates two important truths.  The first truth is that development of software for the mainframe can be done at the same breakneck pace as development of software for any other platform.

This is news to many people.  In fact, there is a long-standing myth that mainframe code is somehow inherently slower to write and test.  But this is not true.  Code is code.  Sure, there are differences between programming languages.  The ability to rapidly develop code while rigorously safeguarding quality, however, is far more contingent upon culture and process than upon language and platform.

So speed is indeed possible on the mainframe. Compuware keeps proving that as we deliver innovative new solutions quarter after quarter.  We did it January 1, April 1 and July 1 of this year. We’ll do it again next Thursday, October 1.  And we’ll do it once again on January 1, 2016.

These rapidly cadenced releases are not just some marketing ploy.  They are Compuware’s declaration to the world that every enterprise mainframe shop can rapidly innovate to address the relentlessly changing needs of the business.

Because if we can do it, you can too.

There’s a reason to do it

The second important truth is that there are extremely compelling reasons to bring Lean/Agile development to the mainframe.

In the case of our upcoming release, those reasons have to do with the longevity of mainframe applications and the generational shift in mainframe stewardship. Our customers increasingly need their less mainframe-experienced developers to work on highly evolved and involved COBOL programs that aren’t very well documented.  Our new solution empowers these mainframe novices—as well as platform veterans—to map and investigate the interactions between these older programs, which are often profoundly important to the business.

Your reasons for wanting your mainframe development to move at a much faster pace may be different.  You may need to better leverage mainframe code as a back-end for customer-facing mobile apps. You may want to take advantage of the mainframe’s vastly superior performance economics.  Or you may be under pressure to update your systems of record more frequently in response to new analytics requirements.

Whatever your reasons, we’re here to let you know that you too can transform your mainframe into a lean, mean innovation machine.

Gary came into my office because he believed he discovered a powerful, practical way to accelerate the mainframe software lifecycle while making developers at all skill-levels vastly more productive.  I think he was 100% correct.

But please don’t let the story end there. On October 1, talk to your Compuware sales representative to find out for yourself just how powerful Gary’s idea is—and start writing your own company’s story of rapid mainframe innovation.

Republished from Chris O’Malley’s LinkedIn Pulse page.

Photo: Software Architect Gary Michalek with Product Manager Mark Schettenhelm and Software Architect Jim Jonah.

Photo Source: Liv Martin and Chad Morgan