Exiting mainframes with no-code platforms: Giving full power to the business
Most large enterprises want to stop running their critical business applications on mainframes. The majority of resistance comes when the roadmap or the decision factory examines the timeframe and the cost involved — often projecting a hazy picture that does not allow for a clear understanding of the long-term benefits.
Today, we have a variety of new tools at our disposal, like cloud infrastructure, automated platforms, processes to reduce time to market, and efficient microservices patterns. These and other similar ingredients can help organizations achieve highly scalable and effective architectures.
However, we still don’t see a great deal of success in large-scale mainframe exit projects. So, what is really going on? What is the underlying concern holding enterprises back?
Most enterprises are hesitant about switching to the cloud or adopting modern practices. What we have observed is that, among other concerns about exiting mainframe, the big sticking point is simply the fear of losing control over their IT. This is especially true when they learn that their workloads and applications will be distributed across different cloud platform and that it will be increasingly difficult to control them through a “single pane of glass.”
Although players like Anthos and Tanzu are trying to address multi cloud distribution issues with efficient CI/CD engineering, most business users feel that they must rely on programmers and engineers for each minor change, to help them manage backlogs and resolve code conflicts.
Is it possible that in the future, the core business team can be more self-sufficient and able to handle smaller issues without invoving IT?
Fortunately, “no code” platforms are a great way to address these concerns. By modernizing the mainframe ecosystem so that all the business process changes are done on a no-code platform, an enterprise can modernize effectively, without taking control away from business users.
With a no-code platform, once changes are saved, the impacted business processes can automatically go through a unit test to validate the regression, performance and other criteria. If the test fails to allow these changes, a mechanism can always roll back and undo the alterations.
We are seeing the top public cloud providers adopting low-code platforms, and as the benefits become proven over time, we can expect them to filter into other enterprises as well. As more companies embrace the shift to no-code, it should become a standard and accepted practice.
At some point in the future, we will see a platform where business users define new features during the PI session, adjust the workflows and low-code themselves, and simply observe and monitor the product going to market though clicks and auto CI/CD cycles.
Once we reach that point, we will have truly delivered “Power to the Business,” rendering IT as more of a support commodity to support business-controlled application moves.
Jitin is a Mainframe and Modernization SME with deep knowledge and experience around Legacy exit initiatives across the industry verticals. He works for the client solutions team – North America.