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Trend Watch: Modernization

This is the fourth in a multi-part series with a focus on trends that are interesting and important with a focus on enterprise computing. In this post, I’ll continue my point-in-time analysis of trends with a focus on modernization.

Modernization is a dynamic subject because IT is in a constant state of change. Not all change is worthy of modernization efforts, but some changes in IT need to be addressed because they have the potential to make an enormous difference to a system and its applications.
Why Care About Modernization?
If you don’t care about modernization, you will be left behind. If you are an application architect, your application will become obsolete slowly but surely and you will be in trouble. “In trouble” means your application will be at risk of being replaced by something “modern” and you might be out of a job.  

Modernization isn’t really about anyone’s job but about alignment with evolving technology that keeps applications vital and useful. This constant change isn’t a problem but rather an opportunity to reinvent useful applications.

Takeaway:  Embrace change. Identify and focus on the most important transformations for your system and application.

Mainframe and Modernization
Modernization most often focuses on five key areas:

1. UI Modernization:- As cell phones and tables become the most attractive devices of engagement, legacy applications are changing to take advantage of their unique and useful features. Mobile application development can be complex but growing rapidly.
2. Data Modernization: As database technology becomes ubiquitous, files systems are being replaced by database for many reasons.
3. Function Modernization: Applications can be organized to optimize ease of development, maintenance and use. Microservices is one of a number of different tactics being used to take a new look at how to organize large application systems.  
4. Process Modernization: The steps being taken to develop and change applications, the systems development life cycle, is migrating from waterfall to agile approaches. This migration from one process to another is process modernization.
5. Middleware Modernization: Middleware, particularly software like CICS and IMS, has undergone significant enhancements over the decades since they have been introduced. It is useful to utilize these ongoing enhancements as middleware is one of the most important software segments within enterprise computing.

Takeaway: Modernization can start by placing focus on any of the five key areas. Change can be disruptive but it is likely to bring significant benefits and vitality to applications when done carefully.  
Next Post
Next week, I’ll continue this point-in-time analysis of trends with a focus on open source.  The Open Mainframe Project is a good example of what is happening with mainframes and open source. The project has a goal to increase collaboration across the mainframe community and to develop shared tool sets and resources.