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Chris O

Chris O'Malley

President and CEO of Compuware

Compuware Corporation

Chris O’Malley is the CEO of Compuware, where he is responsible for setting the company’s vision, mission and strategy.

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While it has long been predicted emerging technologies would usurp the mainframe, it remains the beating digital heart of global business. According to a recent Compuware-commissioned Forrester Consulting study, 64 percent of enterprises with mainframes will run more than half of their critical applications on the platform within the next year. And, 72 percent of customer-facing applications are completely or very dependent on back-end mainframe workloads.
Despite the mainframe’s enduring presence, enterprises haven’t been able to fully leverage the power of the platform and its applications. That’s because mainframe development remains stuck in obsolete, unresponsive, waterfall-bound mainframe development practices that hamstring teams from delivering customer-driven innovations at the rate and pace of nimble digital disruptors. In addition, arcane processes coupled with clunky, limited tooling ward off next-generation developers who are fundamental to digital transformation.
Mainframe applications must be subject to the same Agile and DevOps disciplines as web and mobile to enable digital competitiveness. Enterprises must be capable of quickly and frequently updating their back-end systems-of-record code as often as needed. Only when mainframe owners abandon obsolete norms, mainstream the mainframe and adopt Agile/DevOps will development, QA/test and ops teams work with it in ways that are seamlessly unified with the rest of the enterprise. Then, teams will have the means to turn ideas that matter into deliverables that make a difference—continuously.
In addition, it’s critical for enterprises to focus on the right KPIs that drive technical and business performance. For example, enterprises that measure and drive performance in quality, velocity and efficiency across the mainframe software lifecycle deliver better customer experiences, respond more nimbly to changing market conditions and achieve higher revenue across the business. They’re also better able to navigate the generational shift in mainframe stewardship from platform veterans with multiple decades of hands on experience to next-gen DevOps artisans who can take the mainframe into realms it hasn’t entered before.
Mainframe workloads will continue to grow as digital demands on the enterprise escalate. Enterprise leaders have three choices:
  1. Let their mainframes languish under the status quo
  2. Attempt risky, time-consuming and expensive application migrations off the platform
  3. Bring the proven advantages of Agile, DevOps and related disciplines to bear on the mainframe applications and data that run their business

To keep pace with today’s fast-moving markets, investing in the third choice is not optional—it is required.