UNICOM Global CEO Perspective on Mainframe Computing
We believe in transformation from the inside out.
By Corry Hong ,
It’s fair to say the IT industry has changed significantly since then. Those of us who love the mainframe know that it is an incredibly sophisticated and powerful machine that, over the years, has evolved and redefined the limits of computing technology. What about mainframe applications though? Have they evolved and incorporated the latest advancements in technology in a similar fashion?
Imagine that you could speak to your mainframe just like you talk to your smartphone or smart speaker: “Hey, CICS! Start up my banking application.” That is not such a revolutionary idea. After all, as consumers we expect frictionless experiences. We interact seamlessly with the gadgets around our house and the apps that drive our everyday lives: swipe and tap, or call out to your smart speaker by name. So why should we settle for less when it comes to the enterprise applications that drive our businesses?
We can achieve that dream and tackle some of the mainframe’s most intractable challenges:
- addressing skills shortages
- overcoming technology barriers by making the mainframe user environment easier to learn
- making the mainframe more intuitive, and even fun to use
- eiminating the boundaries (real and perceived) that isolate the mainframe from other platforms
Transformation from the inside out
My drive for transformation started within my own company. UNICOM has grown rapidly through strategic acquisitions of NASDAQ and London Exchange AIM companies, and 13 transactions with IBM Corporation. We have a wide portfolio of software products, and teams spanning multiple platforms including established mainframe solutions as well as emerging technologies. Each arm of the business brings something new and valuable to the table, but the challenge we faced was: how do we combine the best of all of these different technologies operating on different platforms – everything from performance management on the mainframe to blockchain enablement and AI?
Through the TOGAF framework practice, we soon realized that the answer was not to make radical changes to solutions that were already working well in their own right. We quickly moved on from enhancing and standardizing user interfaces to creating a no-code platform that would enable us to connect all of our solutions together and overlay enabling technologies, such as chat, AI, analytics, plus the best possible web and mobile user experiences. The concept of a “universal gateway” was born.
A new digital business platform
We worked hard to develop a digital transformation toolkit and user experience platform that would allow multiple solutions to be accessed in one place – without the need for product-to-product integration, and that would be future proof, enabling us to “plug in” the next new technology that comes along, without re-engineering our existing software. We are now starting to reap the rewards of that work. We are using the universal gateway on digital transformation projects and I am excited by the results. It provides our customers with a central hub that ties together all the different components of their solution, and with high-level views of their new “post transformation” business that they can use to monitor progress and deliver continuous process improvement. One important advance is that users at all levels across the enterprise can see how performance data and other business metrics affect their role or business function. This increases ownership across the organization and drives greater visibility at C-level.
The journey continues
On a personal note, my first employee Betty is still with UNICOM, as well as her son Russ and her grandson Jared. My three sons are also in the business. UNICOM is excited to be a part of the next 40 years of the mainframe journey
Corry Hong is the Founder, President and CEO of UNICOM Global, and founded the company in 1981. Today, the UNICOM Global group consists of more than 55 entities delivering software and services to enterprises worldwide.
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