The mainframe stands at the center of your goals for digital modernization. The question is, do you perceive the mainframe to be an enabler that supports modernization, or a bottleneck that hinders it?
Many CIOs view the mainframe as a bottleneck. Not because of the hardware or software itself, but because of a looming shortage of mainframe skills. A huge majority of CIOs – a full 71 percent – are concerned that this skill shortage will hurt their businesses. Specifically, CIOs are concerned about an increased application risk (58 percent), reduced productivity (58 percent) and more project overruns (53 percent).
There is good cause for these concerns, since a staggering 47 percent of developer time is spent simply digging into code. Testing is a further time drain as coding errors, security flaws, and unrecognized dependencies send updates back to the drawing board. The result is that it can take eight to twelve weeks to have even a minor change pushed into the mainframe environment. Such delays wreak havoc on the desired speed to market for modernization – and, therefore, on a company’s agility and competitiveness.
Developers face layers of complexity
The problem is that many mainframe applications have grown to resemble huge monoliths – complex systems requiring extensive reading of code, source level debugging, and lengthy exercises to understand application flow and interrelations. Fortunately, CA Technologies has partnered with CAST Software, a leader in the software quality and measurement space, to cast a bright light into this application “black box”.
The pace of Digital Transformation will not tolerate a waste of valuable resources from developers sifting endlessly through complex code in the effort to bring modernization to the mainframe. Rather, developer mindshare and talent should be leveraged to create new features and functions that will change the market, improve the customer experience, and help operations run more efficiently.
Unravel the black box
CAST facilitates this shift in resource utilization by bringing visibility and clarity into the application environment through two complementary solutions. First, the CAST Application Engineering Dashboard (AED) lets you examine your code across components before it goes to production to pinpoint the exact defects that will impact system uptime and performance. Defects can therefore be removed early on, streamlining the DevOps lifecycle.
Second, CAST Enlighten gives you the power to visualize your application architecture and examine how software components interact. This visual representation, or blueprint, provides insight for developers and team members to help them better understand, support, and continue to develop applications.
With these powerful visualizations of what used to be hidden in the application black box, developers no longer need to adopt specialized mainframe skills in order to see the impact of their changes or to determine how application components will interact. Vulnerabilities and flaws can be quickly identified for remediation, and automated quality analysis can support continuous improvement for greater efficiency, performance, security, and reliability.
With unparalleled visibility and clarity into applications, code, and dependencies, modernization can be brought swiftly to the mainframe. And, with modernization, you can increase the return on your investment, taking full advantage of mainframe’s outstanding capabilities for performance, scalability, and security.
It’s time to turn on the light – the modernized mainframe is waiting!
 Vanson Bourne, “The New World of Mainframes” Oct 6, 2015.