Mainframe application updates could cost some A/NZ CIOs millions: study

Some CIOs in Australia and New Zealand have estimated that it could cost an average of A$10 million or more to update their mainframe applications, according to a new study.

The survey which was conducted by Vanson Bourne for Micro Focus in November 2013 interviewed 35 CIOs in Australia and 15 in New Zealand. It was part of a study of nine countries which included the United Kingdom, United States, Brazil, Hong Kong and Singapore. A total of 590 CIOs were surveyed.

According to the survey, 48 per cent of A/NZ CIOs said it would take an average of $10 million to update their mainframe applications while 80 per cent said that they find it difficult justifying the expense of mainframe applications due to mounting IT debt.

Forty eight per cent of A/NZ respondents estimate that their organisation will be using mainframe applications for at least another 10 years.

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  • Adding to the problem of maintaining mainframe applications is the skills shortage. Seventy six per cent of A/NZ CIOs said it was proving difficult to find new staff with mainframe skills. In addition, 50 per cent of those surveyed said that they could not keep up with new mainframe compliance legislation because it was 'highly likely' that their mainframe expert had retired or left the company.

    To address the mainframe skills gap, 78 per cent of A/NZ CIOs surveyed said that university students should be learning mainframe programming languages such as COBOL and PL/I. However, according to Vanson Bourne, only 27 per cent of universities around the world have COBOL as part of their core or elective ICT curriculum.

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