COBOL Forms the Basis for Digital Transformation

BrandPost By Pete Bartolik
Jun 09, 2020
Digital TransformationIT Leadership

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Credit: teguhjatipras/istock

COBOL is foundational technology that powers 70% of the worlds transaction processing systems. Forward-looking enterprises consider COBOL applications as essential and a strategic element of their digital transformation plans. From its initial mission to provide a COmmon Business Oriented Language, it has evolved and endured because it allows programmers and those in business functions to collaborate on applications and processes in a language understandable to them both.

The COBOL systems that support core business operations represent tremendous value in terms of institutional knowledge and intellectual property. Those programs are the basis for the dependable operation of critical systems, such as payroll and other essential business services, that deliver value year after year. But many need to be modernized to support digital business and develop new ways of engaging with consumers, reaching new markets, and delivering services.

Modernization is the favored approach 

COBOL applications are highly strategic with an application code base that continues to expand, according to a recent global survey  that polled architects, software engineers, developers, development managers, and IT executives from 40 different countries about the strategic importance of COBOL to their business and future application roadmaps.

The survey illustrates that organizations want to leverage the business systems on which they’ve built success, with 70% of enterprises favoring modernization of COBOL applications rather than replacing or retiring them, and 63% planning to improve upon their existing COBOL systems in 2020.

Modernization is seen as a lower-risk approach to achieve digital transformation of core business systems and an effective means of transforming IT to support digital business initiatives. Failed innovation projects consistently undermine the credibility of IT, but the continued evolution of the COBOL language supported by a sound strategy of modernization enables an organization to quickly transform to meet today’s new business challenges.

Business-oriented isn’t just a label

A key element in the enduring value of COBOL is the synergy it brings to IT processes and business projects. Savvy IT organizations are enhancing and integrating their core systems to provide new user experiences, business facilities, and competitive differentiation. They continue to expand use cases and take advantage of the strategic alignment of COBOL systems with other technologies.

A modernization model can add innovative technologies to proven COBOL systems to meet new demands, including mobile and cloud connectivity, while protecting the systems underpinning the business with enterprise-level security.

The ongoing technological investment by Micro Focus and others in the vendor community ensures that COBOL continues to support, integrate with, and embrace technical innovation to propel host COBOL applications into the future.

Micro Focus tools help organizations retain what works, transform what must change, and renew to enable future innovation. Micro Focus Modernization Solutions including Visual COBOL and Enterprise Developer provide COBOL development and integration tools in a choice of Visual Studio or Eclipse, for example. These modern tools help AppDev teams work better together and deliver new functionality faster to business users.

Enabling every platform

The Micro Focus modernization approach provides true flexibility and choice particularly within a climate and environment that’s ever changing. Organizations can build on their existing COBOL code to deliver applications and interfaces across every platform of hybrid IT: mainframe, server, mobile, cloud, on-premises, and off-premises.

Micro Focus offers a roadmap to COBOL modernization and digital transformation that enables organizations to quickly transform to meet today’s new business challenges. It creates new value from longstanding COBOL investments and reuses the unique value of established apps and data in new ways, such as leveraging cloud or containers to deliver game-changing innovation—faster.

Check out this application portfolio assessment and get modernization recommendations to guide your digital transformation journey.