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Frequently Asked Questions About IBM i Modernization

by | Apr 7, 2022 | IBM i Modernization | 0 comments

Many enterprises that have been around for a while rely on IBM i applications to run mission-critical business operations. It is proof of the platform’s stability that users are still keen to keep it. The major challenge these enterprises face, however, is the difficulty of continuing to use something that was built 30 years ago. With customer expectations constantly evolving and technology advancing faster than ever before, IBM i companies need a scalable solution. They need a solution that minimizes risk and leverages existing skills and resources. Enter IBM i modernization.

Recognizing their need to adapt at speed, enterprises running IBM i applications are shifting towards IBM i modernization.  Modernization, however, is not that straightforward. It requires a holistic approach to improving the architecture, infrastructure, and delivery of existing IBM i applications. It is a continuous endeavor with many variables that enterprises need to carefully consider.

Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about IBM i modernization. 

What is IBM i modernization?

IBM I modernization has become a buzzword in the IBM i development industry. It is, however, more than simply upgrading existing applications. This is because modernization means different things to different organizations depending on their business needs.

For some enterprises, modernization starts with asking “What do we do with the UI?”  Others ask, “How can I maintain my RPG developer workforce?”  But these questions are just the tip of the iceberg. IBM i modernization involves leveraging, repurposing, and integrating existing code into modern systems that meet business objectives and customer needs. 

Leveraging your existing investment to drive long-term goals involves two things. Firstly, you need to assess your existing systems and the role they play in achieving your business goals. Then you need to develop a modernization strategy that addresses the problem areas you identify.

For more information, take a look at our step-by-step guide to IBM i application modernization.

What is mainframe application modernization?

The mainframe market is very large, with investment of over $10 billion. In fact, over 70% of fortune 100 companies use mainframe systems to run business-critical workloads. These applications, however, are often monolithic with rigid data structures that run across systems. This creates data silos that ultimately hinder digital transformation initiatives. This is where mainframe application modernization plays a key role. 

Mainframe application modernization refers to taking a holistic approach to incrementally improving your existing legacy mainframe footprint. Your interface, code, costs, and performance are all factors you must consider.  

What are the benefits of IBM i application modernization?

Application modernization has a lot of benefits, these include:

The ability to leverage existing investments

If the business world is changing faster than your IT investments can respond, application modernization allows you to leverage your existing skills and resources to keep up with changing customer demands.

Improved Security

Legacy applications make systems and businesses vulnerable to security threats. This is largely due to the incompatibility between legacy applications and modern security standards. Application modernization, however, can significantly beef up your security.

The ability to improve customer experience

Your end-users (customers or employees)  expect a high-level digital experience in their everyday lives, and using sub-par systems at work is unacceptable. Web-enabling your applications with modern user interfaces and cutting-edge functionalities improves their experience.

Boost developer productivity

Empowering your IT with the right tools and environment to deliver business solutions increases developer productivity and ultimately increases ROI. Modernizing applications facilitates access to better developer tools and environments. 

What are the disadvantages of IBM i modernization?

IBM i modernization only works to improve your overall business process, and therefore there are no disadvantages. However, without it must be implemented correctly. Getting it wrong would spell ultimate disaster.

What is the impact of modernization?

Modernization allows businesses to become more agile and better position themselves to adapt to changing market conditions, evolving customer expectations, and technology demands. Enterprises that modernize can easily incorporate new technologies and share data across departments. 

When should you modernize?

Ultimately, if your existing systems’ total cost of ownership is too high, your technology is too complex, or your security compliance, support, or scalability is compromised, then it’s definitely time for you to modernize your applications. 

What does modernization mean?

In its simplest form, modernizing your business applications refers to updating or integrating additional functionalities to keep up with your present and future business needs. We can also help you with AS400 Application Modernization. Take a look at our guide.

What is IBM i data modernization?

Most businesses today rely on various systems to deliver their products and services. Because of this, moving data freely through these systems and streamlining business processes is essential. Data modernization is the process of creating connectivity through seamless data sharing across systems. 

How do you modernize IBM i infrastructure?

Modernizing infrastructure requires a project plan that’s specific to your business needs. As a result, your modernization project plan should consist of stages, tasks, and review points. Stages are the main action points of the plan, and tasks are the processes for executing each stage. Finally, the review points are a way to evaluate the success of your project. 

The following steps will help you create your infrastructure modernization plan:

1. Assess Your Application Portfolio

The first stage of any application modernization project is a thorough assessment of your existing applications. This involves taking inventory of your application portfolio and rating each application based on its importance to your business operations and goals to kick off your project plan. 

2. Assign a modernization strategy

Having identified applications that require modernization, you need to choose application modernization strategies for each application. This depends on an application’s purpose, available funding and resources, and your overall business goals. This stage may require further detailed planning as it could involve multiple sub-projects.

3. Develop modernization design

The design stage is a function of the previous stage. This is where you map out actionable steps to modernize each application. This involves choosing the appropriate modernization techniques. The techniques you use for each application depend on the business processes associated with the application and your goals. 

For example, if simply adding a graphical user interface would improve user experience, refacing or screen scraping may suffice. 

4. Implement your modernization strategies and techniques

Having designed your modernization process for each application, next is implementation and execution. This is where you carry out your modernization design. Your IT department can begin installing your modernization tools to facilitate legacy application transition and transformation. It is important, however,  to ensure your IT department and implementation teams remain effective throughout the transformation process. This means you need to prioritize orders and draw up a structure for responding to queries that arise during the project. It is non-negotiable — you must clearly define, from the start, how your project will impact IT and how IT will respond.

Learn more about how to create an application modernization plan.

Ready to modernize your IBM i applications?

IBM i applications are very vital to the business operations of many enterprises today. However, evolving customer expectations, new technology entrants, and changing market conditions put IBM i applications under increasing pressure. Therefore, IBM i users must modernize to better position them to adapt to these changes. You can leverage tools like aXes to gain quick wins and win company-wide buy-in for a modernization project. 

For more information on IBM i modernization, check out the Application Modernization ebook. You can also contact us to speak to an expert.



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