The Bright, New Future of COBOL

Compuware today announced ground-breaking integrations with Atlassian, SonarSource, AppDynamics, Jenkins and Splunk. We also acquired the assets of ISPW, a leading provider of agile source code management and release automation.

But what really happened today is that Compuware transformed the future of mainframe applications.

A big honking global problem

The world runs on COBOL. Despite mythologies to the contrary, the world’s largest enterprises—including just about every globally significant financial institution—depend on mainframe applications written in COBOL and other legacy languages every day as systems of record and transaction processing engines. And those applications are not going to be replaced or re-platformed any time soon.

In fact, mainframe applications are becoming even more important over time as they provide critical back-end business logic and transaction processing for mobile customer engagement, IoT, and more.

Unfortunately, the way mainframe applications are currently managed is untenable. Mainframe owners depend on a shrinking number of mainframe specialists to keep these vital applications in proper working order. Those specialists also typically manage mainframe code using arcane tools and slow, obsolete processes.

So large enterprises face a two-fold problem: 1) They’ll eventually run out of essential human resources and 2) they can’t modify their mainframe applications quickly enough to compete in digital-first markets.

So the problem isn’t that COBOL had no future. It’s that it had a bad one.

A big honking global solution

Compuware is directly, uniquely, and—yes, I’ll say it—brilliantly addressing this global problem by enabling enterprises to put their COBOL applications in the hands of their mainstream Agile/DevOps teams.

That’s right. With the help of Compuware and our partners, your Starbucks-guzzling, scrum-crushing, code-all-night Java pros will be able to do for your mainframe applications what they do for the rest of your enterprise software portfolio: rapidly innovate, integrate, and solve business problems.

Essentially, our approach entails

  • Delivering next-generation mainframe tools that insulate Java developers from the underlying idiosyncrasies of COBOL through intuitive visualizations and automation
  • Integrating those tools with popular Java/open-source tools your mainstream developers already know and love

This innovative approach solves both parts of the problem. First, it eliminates excessive and potentially fatal dependency on a generation of programmers who are inexorably heading into retirement. Second, it makes the mainframe part of the Agile mainstream.

It’s a great solution. And it starts today.

Your responsibility

Here’s the thing, though. Compuware can only offer game-changing vision, along with the awesome software and partnerships necessary to make that vision a reality.

You’re the one who has to change the way you manage your mainframe apps—and who manages them.

Those are tough changes to make. Things have been done a certain way for a long time. Not everyone is comfortable with the radical change we are recommending.

But that radical change is essential. Enterprises simply must converge mainframe application management into their mainstream Agile DevOps. There is no other way forward. Compuware, as our announcement today demonstrates, is committed to making that happen.

Most importantly, are you?

Republished from Chris O’Malley’s LinkedIn page.

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Chris O'Malley

Chris O’Malley is CEO of Compuware, where he is responsible for setting the company’s vision, mission and strategy. With 30 plus years of IT experience, Chris has led the company’s transformation into becoming the “mainframe software partner for the next 50 years.” Before joining Compuware in 2014, Chris was CEO of VelociData. Previous to that, he was CEO of Nimsoft, EVP of CA’s Cloud Products & Solutions and EVP/GM of CA’s Mainframe business unit, where he led the successful transformation of that division.
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