Beware the Bias

Beware the Bias

The True Path to Modernizing Government IT

To the GAO, Federal CIOs, and members of Congress,

In light of a June 2018 GAO report to the Internal Revenue Service suggesting the agency’s mainframe- and COBOL-based systems present significant risks to tax processing, we the mainframe IT community—developers, scholars, influencers and inventors—urge the IRS and other federal agencies to:

  1. Reinvest in and modernize the mainframe platform and the mission-critical applications which federal agencies—and U.S. Citizens—have long relied upon.
  2. Prudently consider the financial risks and opportunity costs associated with rewriting and replacing proven, highly dependable mainframe applications, for which no “off-the-shelf” replacement exists.
  3. Understand the security and performance requirements of these mainframe applications and data and the risk of migrating to platforms that were never designed to meet such requirements at scale.

Biased mainframe naysayers are working hard to spread dangerous myths about the platform. The truth is that in 2018, the mainframe is still the world’s most reliable, performant and securable platform, providing the lowest cost high transactional system of record. The mainframe is used by 92 of the world’s top 100 banks; all 10 of the world’s largest insurers; and 23 of the top 25 largest airlines.

Trusted government agencies across the globe use the mainframe to manage mission-critical workloads. And in the private sector, mainframes process 29 billion ATM transactions per day, 87 percent of all credit card transactions and 4 billion passenger flights each year. 96 percent of new business initiatives at mainframe-powered organizations involve the platform because:

COBOL is a modern language
There are 220 billion highly performant lines of COBOL in existence, with five billion added annually.  Released in 2017 alongside the progressive IBM z14, COBOL V6.2 exploits modern z/Architecture® innovations and is optimized on a bi-monthly basis.

New talent can easily thrive
Yes, experienced COBOL developers are retiring. However, COBOL is a relatively simple programming language to learn and intuitive tools make it easy to work with it like any other language. Further, developers are 22-27 percent more efficient when working within a modern mainframe development environment.

The mainframe is cost-effective
Empirical studies show that mainframe TCO is less expensive than other platforms for the system of record work it performs. When you factor in the hidden costs of managing, securing, and constantly refreshing distributed platforms, the hard numbers strongly favor the mainframe. Analysis across 15 industries shows the average IT cost of goods is 35 percent less for mainframe-heavy organizations.

As IT professionals and U.S. citizens, we firmly believe modernizing mainframe system delivery methods and tools is the right decision and will have a lasting positive impact.

We’re counting on agencies to make informed decisions and we stand ready to help.

Additional resources: U.S. Public Sector page, DevOps transformation materials; mainframe survey data.

Chris O’Malley, CEO, Compuware

Claire Bailey, Director, Federal, State and Local Solutions, Compuware

Bill Miller, President, ZSolutions Optimization, BMC Software

Jonathan Adams, Vice President and General Manager of ZSolutions and Select Technologies, BMC Software

Rich Ptak, Managing Partner/Co-Founder, Ptak Associates

Alan Radding, Research Director and Blogger (Dancing Dinosaur)

Jason Bloomberg, Principal Analyst, Intellyx

Trevor Eddolls, Owner, iTech-Ed Ltd

Dr. Jagannadha Chidella, Professor, Computer Science Department, Sacramento State

Mark Wilson, Technical Director, RSM Partners

Allan Zander, CEO, Data Kinetics

David Hodgson, Chief Product Officer, Syncsort

Tom Meehan, Vice President, Innovation Data Processing

Fred Hoschett, President, Phoenix Software

Ed Jaffee, Chief Technology Officer, Phoenix Software

Cheryl Watson, President/Co-founder, Watson and Walker

Derek Britton, Product Marketing Director, Micro Focus

New Mainframe Software Developers from Compuware

  • Megan Wenzke
  • Connor Blair
  • Ronjoy Kalita
  • Ryan Prodoehl
  • Daniel Washburn
  • Zia Bukhari
  • Alex Liu
  • Nick Polhemus
  • Devin Berchtold
  • Derek Garrity
  • Lisa Gentil
  • Angelo Barone
  • Jake Stants
  • Rob Kulevich
  • Travis Strubing
  • Krysten Erickson
  • Ian Stuart
  • Himavarsha Jambula
  • Tanjiv Azad
  • Matt Rowe
  • Pascal Lis
  • Noah Al-Armanazi
  • Joe Parisi
  • Kim Mitchell
  • Mike Ferrans
  • Joey Domino
  • Katie Eluskie
  • Jake Leon