Do You Know Your Applications’ Legacy Maturity Level?
Quite recently, when talking about a mainframe modernization framework with a Fortune 500 financial customer, we pointed out the two strongest reasons for replacement:
1. A steep decline in the skillset needed for the company’s legacy system
2. Annual mainframe license costs/MIPS cost
That’s when we realized that the mainframe license cost barely impacted the company’s annual IT budget. For this company, MIPS cost was least of the problems. And because they had outsourced the maintenance to outside vendors, they didn’t have skillset issues either. Indeed, unless the maturity level of an application was extremely low, the IT department had absolutely no problem with maintaining it.
Although mainframe license fees can represent a significant component in the overall cost of ownership, every company faces a different set of challenges, and every solution must directly address at least one of them. In other words, instead of a generalized modernization solution, it’s essential to look at the maturity level of each legacy application.
Here are the steps to take when evaluating whether or not to modernize your older applications:
1. Assess the legacy maturity level (LML) of your existing application based on key factors such as ability to maintain/enhance/expand, hardware obsolescence, total cost of ownership, and availability of skilled resources (see table, below).
2. Prioritize applications with low maturity levels for replacement.
3. Applications with higher maturity levels can stay in production longer, unless the ROI for modernizing can be proven.
4. Make sure any application you designate for modernization is aligned with your organization’s overall strategy and technical architecture. Applications that have a small user base or are less- critical can always take a back seat.
5. Never assume an application is permanent. That way, you always have scope for further improvements that keep you in sync with the latest technology. The idea is to build (or modernize) applications in a way that ensure their viability for only the next few years.
The table below shows how to determine the LML of an application based on a variety of parameters.
Table: Maturity level of legacy technologies.