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Migrating to IBM Power or PureSystems Can Bring Business Upswings

Is My Application Worth Migrating?

If you’re considering migration, you need to know if your legacy applications are valuable to the business. Do they provide significant value considering:

  • The business success globally of companies using the platform
  • The competitive edge encapsulated in the legacy application
  • The total cost of ownership delivered to clients, suppliers and partners

If not, it doesn’t make sense to migrate them, and it becomes a simple choice of retire or redevelop.

Based on experience and analysis of many installations that have moved off the platform, operational constraints and a lack of agility are largely responsible and are consistently highlighted as the most significant factors. However, many organizations often regret replacing the IBM i system due to a critical loss of required functionality. Additionally, companies soon realize a dramatic decrease in availability and reliability, compromised as a result from platform change. If significant value exists in your legacy applications and you’ve determined they must be retained, you must migrate those applications to a modern environment such as DB2 SQL. To begin, make a careful analysis of the critical operational and strategic constraints:

  • Does the application provide a competitive advantage (e.g., a unique order entry process, special stock allocation and stock management algorithms)? List these in your environment.
  • Can your current business processes be improved?
  • Will the system allow improvement?
  • What’s inhibiting service delivery models for clients, suppliers and partners?
  • Document the cost structure to deliver the applications.
  • What’s the functional fit of your current application? As a rule of thumb, off-the-shelf applications deliver between 60 and 75 percent functionality.
  • Are the constraints you’ve experienced due to a lack of functionality or service delivery?

How Much to Migrate

Be wary of the trap of analysis paralysis. You don’t have to migrate your entire application, as many people suggest. Your objective should be to deliver maximum value to the business at all times. Two important considerations will help you determine how. First, identify the 20 percent of the application that generates 80 percent of all transactions. Second, perform a careful analysis of your maintenance or change requests, as this will highlight application functions and programs that demand higher levels of maintenance or cause the most frustration.

Start with these and you’ll see where the greatest ROI can be achieved. In parallel, you’ll gain confidence with the methodology and approach.

In the past, it wasn’t strange for mainline transaction-processing programs to consist of tens of thousands of lines of code—a programmer’s ultimate nightmare. By simply driving database relationships and validations out of the code and into the database, the lines of code can easily be reduced by up to 80 percent. The benefits, including improved performance, are dramatic. See “What Benefits Will Migration Bring”.

Furthermore, programmers have become a liability because many haven’t mastered new tools or honed skills such as ILE, free-form RPG IV, SQL and Rational* Developer for Power Systems Software* (RDP). I often listen in amazement when programmers defend the use of old tools and utilities (PDM, SEU, etc.), not realizing what a disservice they’re doing to their organizations. By using RDP, they can improve productivity and accuracy by orders of magnitude. In our experience, organizations can recover RDP license fees within one to two months due to productivity improvements alone.

Marinus Van Sandwyck is the founder, chief enterprise architect and chief technology officer of TEMBO.

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