Today, competitive forces are fiercer than ever in the marketplace. Companies must continually transform their business models, products and services, and their infrastructure must support all of it if they are to thrive and lead. Time and cost are of the essence.

To innovate faster and more successfully than your competitors, you must make technology decisions that strike the right balance between risk and reward. Even with its many benefits, accelerating public cloud adoption alone is not the ultimate solution. On the other hand, a hybrid cloud model, when done right, provides the flexibility to leverage existing and new technology investments in ways that truly deliver the most business value.

Moving to the cloud for the cloud's sake can be a source of disappointment. The reason? Many organizations are simply trying to move their code to the cloud, but not significantly modernizing it. So they don't get any of the benefits in terms of improved performance, reliability, or new features. The return on effort is simply not there and can create a recipe for more headaches.

Instead, organizations should build on and improve what they already have. Duplicate best practices from proven assets such as business applications, logic, and systems. In this way, organizations can take advantage of the strengths of the assets and extend them to create new business opportunities. Some mistakenly position Mainframe and other on-premises technologies in opposition to the Cloud, but the reality is that there shouldn't be a between-one scenario. The answer is to use both.

Think before acting

Some applications are better suited for the cloud, while others are better aligned with the mainframe. The goal should be to run each workload on the platform that best suits your business.

When considering options for the future of your technology stack, consider looking at a few different things before jumping into a solution:

  • What business opportunities are you trying to capitalize on?
  • How should your technology stack evolve to take advantage of these opportunities?
  • What are the unique strengths of your different platforms?
  • Which area needs improvement most urgently and what is the added value?
  • What are the risks, costs, and return on effort of each path forward?

Answering these questions will be key to understanding what type of technology solution best suits your needs and those of your customers. According to the 2022 Global Hybrid Cloud Trends Report, 82% of IT leaders have embraced hybrid cloud, and for good reason. Hybrid cloud leverages the right mix of cloud and on-premises technologies to accelerate digital transformation. The challenge is determining the optimal balance.

The answers to the questions above will help you find the best approach. They should also point you to an important realization: The best path forward will often be the one that gives you the freedom and flexibility to innovate on the spot.

Build on what works

Innovate in Place is a hybrid strategy that leverages a company's existing and proven systems and applications to drive rapid and cost-effective innovation. In other words, it's a model of success where you build on what you have instead of reinventing the wheel. Cloud-appropriate workloads should coexist with workloads that align with Mainframe strengths, not try to replace them.

There are several ways to innovate locally:

  • Drive innovation and customer engagement with APIs: The fastest way to advance innovative customer engagement models is to build new cloud-based applications that reuse your proven business logic and data. You can do this simply by creating enterprise-ready APIs for your core business applications. Well-designed APIs provide easy access to the vast amount of capabilities and data on the mainframe while hiding all the complexity. Use of open APIs:
    • Eliminates the need for mainframe-specific skills
    • Allows you to retain all the security and reliability of the mainframe
    • Dramatically reduces the cost, risk, and time it would take to rebuild these features on another platform

    A common mistake companies make is to produce APIs that only mimic the mainframe structure. While it provides an easy path for API developers, it doesn't hide all the complexity and can increase latency and computational overhead. To solve this problem, Broadcom invested in a low-cost, low-risk way to create business-oriented APIs that make life easier for cloud developers. You have access to mainframe data and functionality, while minimizing overhead and latency.

  • Improve developer agility and experience with modernized DevOps: Over the past 20 years, many companies have invested in people, processes, and tools on the distributed side, but have made no or limited investments on the mainframe side. Now when you face a problem, it is assumed that the problem comes from the Mainframe.
  • The truth is, with open source tools, you can deliver a modern developer experience with the same DevOps process you use for other platforms. You get modern CI/CD pipelines, automated testing, and more. It's just about completing the investments without giving up what you have.

    Combining native Mainframe tools with non-proprietary, community-based, platform-independent DevOps tools gives developers freedom of choice. This allows them to streamline code delivery while increasing speed and quality. This not only improves business agility, but also solves skills issues, enabling college graduates to quickly become productive mainframe developers.

  • Improve efficiency with application refactoring: Sometimes the design and structure of an application's out-of-the-box code can hinder business agility and introduce inefficiencies into your hybrid cloud. When you innovate in place, you invest in existing technology to increase agility and efficiency. Here again, APIs play a critical role.
  • For example, previous modernization efforts may have included screen scraping or other ineffective and ineffective means for external systems to interact with the mainframe. Instead, optimizing integrations to take advantage of business-oriented APIs can significantly reduce costs. It also reduces latency, which improves the customer experience.

    For some applications, most of the updates are related to business rules, such as the interest rate associated with a certain type of account. Often these business rules represent a very small percentage of the total code. By excluding them from the main code, you can make quick changes to that part of the application without having a deep understanding of the entire code base.

    Finding a balance between risk and results

    Innovating locally means finding a balance that allows you to improve the ROI of your technology investments. Reuse what's already proven, evolve existing assets and processes to increase their value, and build from scratch when necessary. Your efforts should be focused on key business and customer needs, paying close attention to cost, effort, and risk. This is the best strategy to achieve faster and more profitable trading results. The evidence suggests that industry leaders agree with this approach. That's why 87% of executives see the mainframe as an integral part of their hybrid cloud strategy, and nearly as many (86%) see it as a competitive advantage.

    Ready to innovate on the spot? Broadcom can be your guide.

    Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

    Share This