Is a Partial Migration the Answer?

by | Mar 23, 2020

Our 2020 Modernization Survey revealed various behaviors and opinions of over 160 legacy system users from all over the globe. The respondent’s answers helped provide a snapshot of the current trends and attitudes in the community. One of the most heavily debated topics for legacy system users is whether or not to migrate, and the results from our survey reflect this conflict.

While 21% of our survey respondents have no plans to migrate applications off their core systems, we found that 58% are either planning to migrate some or are currently migrating some of their apps. At the same time, only 16% of respondents are planning to or are actively migrating ALL of their applications off their legacy systems.

Video: Why Keep Critical Apps on the Mainframe?

This means that most modernization plans involve ultimately keeping the core systems around, at least for the time being. Whether companies see the benefits of their high stability, the availability of their technology, or they cannot imagine moving off, it’s clear that core systems are not going anywhere anytime soon. Migrating is not a decision that should be made lightly.

As we discussed in our last blog post, legacy systems can take a toll on a company’s budget. Plans to migrate are born from the simple need to cut costs. Not only are legacy systems themselves expensive, but companies pay monthly licensing fees that tend to rise yearly, in addition to the sunk cost of the legacy system itself. Companies can underestimate the length of time it takes to complete a major migration project, which means the cost, as well as the inconvenience, will be higher than expected.

At the same time, the number of developers who are trained to work on these systems is declining, making it difficult and expensive to find skilled employees. However, not all migration issues revolve around budget. Some of the most prevalent risks when migrating off legacy systems include poor project phasing and a lack of clear tools and procedures for potential phase reversal, as well as, increased risk and problems from poor processes.

For example, a company has applications on their core systems that are interconnected and directly interface with each other. If a decision is made to move off the core system without having done the proper preparation, these interface routines can be affected, having disastrous ramifications. Because there are many difficulties when migrating, partial migrations are becoming more popular.

Modernization of interfaces and code by migrating them off legacy systems is one of the most common and impactful ways to partially migrate. This often involves moving all COBOL code work off the legacy system and on to modern platforms or to an Integrated Development Environment (IDE). By keeping the security and stability of these systems, but moving some applications off premises, a partial migration brings more versatility and agility to the legacy system, while leveraging your applications that are already working.

DOWNLOAD: See how a leading North American insurer sped up their time to market by automating key processes.