The Anatomy Of Great Application Modernization Services

by | Jan 21, 2022 | Application Modernization | 0 comments

You don’t need to be a digital transformation expert to recognize that you must modernize to remain competitive in today’s business climate. Rapidly changing market conditions and growing customer expectations mean that organizations must innovate and position themselves for quick and easy adaptation and innovation. 

However, legacy systems make it challenging to innovate. They’re often monoliths, and implementing a change in one system often requires changing the whole,  leading to long and tedious processes. To solve this problem, many organizations take the “easy way out” – hiring more IT staff to move the needle on developments. The problem with this is that the developer talent for legacy technologies is gradually depleting. 

Citing Cielo’s talent acquisition 360 study, Business Insider reports that “70 percent of business leaders surveyed worldwide believe the existing talent pool is shrinking while the competition for talent is increasing.” 

Not to mention that development technologies constantly change, and you can’t keep increasing staff numbers whenever there’s a need to accelerate improvements. Not only is it impractical, but the cost of ongoing training/retraining programs for new and existing staff members, coupled with limited budget problems, also makes it a bad business decision. 

Fortunately, application modernization offers a way out. With this approach, you can leverage your existing resources and skills to web-enable your 5250 green-screen applications and automate them. This facilitates digital transformation initiatives and ultimately increases ROI. Today’s most successful businesses leverage the right application modernization services to expedite growth.

So, where do you start?

The first step is identifying areas in your operational workflow where improvements will provide more business value. Then, choose the right application modernization solutions to help you achieve your goals. 

This article will discuss the features and characteristics of a great modernization service.

Can You Web Enable Your 5250 Applications?

The first thing you want to know is if web-enabling your 5250 green screens is an option. The advancement of technology, coupled with the widespread effect of the coronavirus pandemic, has seen remote working rapidly becoming the norm in our ever-changing world. Also, in today’s world of browser-based user experiences, customers see web accessibility as the norm. For this reason, organizations, now more than ever, must provide partners, customers, and end-users easy access to tools and functionalities when and where they need them. 

IBM i applications, however, are often monolithic with 5250 green screens that may only be accessible on-site via centralized terminals or computers. But modernization provides an avenue for IBM i users to take their applications to the web. To help you achieve this, your application modernization service must provide the right strategy and tools to leverage your existing backend and incorporate web accessibility simultaneously. 

Should an Application Modernization Service Offer Modern UIs for Your 5250 Applications?

While the IBM i platform is effective, robust, and powerful, its applications produce green screens that modern users may find difficult to navigate. 

Let’s look at it from the end-user perspective. Obviously, your users are used to modern interfaces like Airbnb, Instagram, and Expedia outside the office. How do you think they react to returning to the multi-decades old 5250 green screens at work? 

Frustrated? Bored to death? Ready to migrate to your competitors who offer modern UIs? At a time when digital transformation is a prerequisite for sustainable growth, you can’t afford to lag. That is why you need an application modernization solution that ensures you can create modern UIs.

This modernization strategy for IBM is known as UI scraping or refacing. It’s usually used to create quick modernization wins. The ROI in this strategy, however. is pretty low because you’re not adding much value beyond a nicer presentation. But, as you go further to enhance your refaced screens with better navigation, GUI controls, and integrations, your ROI increases. 

Explore more information on how your organization can utilize modernization solutions in this article about IBM AS 400 iSeries.

Should a Modernization Solution Include IBM i Applications Mobilization?

Converting a 5250 application to display and receive information from mobile devices expands the application’s data gathering capabilities. It allows you to scan barcodes, obtain location coordinates, take photos or videos, and/or store data in a local database. Modernized applications can also capture multiple data types, simplifying the data capture process and improving data quality.

In addition, when a vastly significant percentage of its population own a smartphone, mobilizing IBM i applications is a top concern for most team leaders. That is why your modernization solution must include this feature.

Learn more about what came before today’s existing IBM i applications in this article about IBM S 36.

Should a Modernization Solution Include Spooled File Management?

Are you guilty of leaving spooled files unattended? Most IBM i administrators are. As a result, reports often remain in an output queue until someone mistakenly deletes or clears the queue in a bid to free up disk space. 

The way you handle spooled files directly impacts you and your end-user. It also presents an excellent modernization opportunity. The right modernization tools should empower your team to easily manage spooled files from any browser. 

Can You Leverage Browser-based DB2 Query Tools?

One of the most common DB2 tasks is retrieving information. DB2 query tools provide a unique solution for building and running queries against IBM i (System i, iSeries, or AS/400) DB2 databases from a browser. You can query DB2 tables, print the query results, or copy the results into applications like Microsoft Excel. You can also create distributed SQL database queries for DB2 databases and any ODBC/JDBC accessible data sources. A good modernization solution must include these tools.

Should a Modernization Solution Offer Data Exchange Automation With Host Integration?

Host integration solutions allow users to Integrate 5250 applications with web and line-of-business applications. This way, you can automate data exchanges with 5250 applications. Great host integration service providers leverage an application programming interface (API) that developers can use to write programs that automatically operate applications written with RPG or COBOL.

With host integration, you can simulate a person’s actions, like entering data into screens in a 5250 application. This feature makes it possible to integrate existing 5250 applications with .NET, Java, or other 5250 applications.

Should Your Solution Offer Enterprise Automation Services?

Automation has great business potential for enterprises looking to deliver solutions faster. It can minimize or eliminate human errors on repetitive tasks and speed up your operational workflow. 

Enterprise automation gives you access to control systems solutions and integrations that meet your needs. With this tool, you can:

  • Enhance enterprise and ERP systems
  • Integrate disparate IT systems 
  • Implement new systems

Would a Free proof of concept be helpful?

When you think about investing in a technology solution, you need to ensure it meets all your business requirements. You can see these business requirements implemented with a Proof of Concept (POC) – different from a demo (controlled by the vendor) or an evaluation where you can test to find out on your own.

Are You Ready to Modernize with the Right Application Modernization Service?

In a pandemic-hit new economy, businesses need to change at the same pace as their environment. Your customers and trading partners all require browser-based and mobilized solutions. Simply put, modern users require modern interfaces. This means choosing an application modernization solution that offers the features discussed in this article. 

LANSA is a modernization service that includes all the features and solutions above. LANSA’s aXes offers the first six features, and you can easily get a free POC to ensure LANSA meets your business requirements. 

For firsthand experience on how you can modernize with LANSA, contact us.

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