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Chris O

Chris O'Malley


Compuware Corporation

With 30-plus years of IT experience, Chris O'Malley has led Compuware's transformation into becoming the "mainframe partner for the next 50 years."

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In today’s highly competitive marketplace, an organization’s success is largely based on their ability to quickly turn ideas that matter into digital deliverables that delight customers. And to do so continuously.

The mainframe plays a critical role in this success as it contains decades of business logic that runs efficiently, securely and without fail. Yet expanding web and mobile app portfolios are increasingly hitting your mainframe while younger developers with few mainframe-specific skills are assuming more responsibility for this code. Your current tools, processes and culture will not help you cope with these realities.
If your mainframe team uses outdated tools and processes and is stuck in an outdated culture, you can’t quickly adapt mainframe applications and data to improve customer experience in new and competitively useful ways. You also can’t apply tremendous next-generation developer talent and creativity to the mainframe.
Ultimately, you paint yourself into a corner with two awful alternatives: a) resign the mainframe to life as a slow and awkward repository of difficult-to-access data and incomprehensible application logic, or b) go through an expensive, painful and thankless re-platforming endeavor, exposing you to the proven likelihood of epic failure.
Neither of these options are as compelling as modernizing your mainframe culture, processes and tools—which is far more practical, far less costly and risky, and delivers far greater benefits.
To ensure their mainframes can optimally support the business for the foreseeable future, enterprise leaders need to:
  1. Modernize to graphical and intuitive tools that help next-generation developers, regardless of experience level, work with and intimately understand your mainframe apps and data so as not to compromise quality.
  2. Adopt cross-platform DevOps tools and processes. Make it easy for multiple developers working on multiple application pieces to quickly build and deploy their code in parallel.
  3. Move toward automated release management across mainframe and non-mainframe environments to quickly, reliably and frequently deliver new capabilities. 
To be successful, strong leadership roles are necessary to implement these changes in processes and culture. Your mainframe code is fantastically valuable proprietary intellectual property that has to be accessed and updated more often and more quickly than ever. The alternative is market irrelevance.