'Old School' Still Cool: COBOL Apps Play Strategic Enterprise Role

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'Old School' Still Cool: COBOL Apps Play Strategic Enterprise Role

It may be six decades old, but COBOL still plays an essential role in app design for many companies, according to a recent survey from Micro Focus. The resulting report, titled “The Future of COBOL Applications,” reveals that COBOL developers favor Agile approaches and that most COBOL apps will soon undergo modernization efforts. However, an aging workforce—with the vast majority of COBOL professionals no younger than age 45—may thwart progress due to a potential talent gap. More than 1,200 global IT professionals at organizations using COBOL applications took part in the research, which was conducted by Harris Interactive. The following slide show features key findings from the survey, with charts provided courtesy of Micro Focus.

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Enterprises Still Consider COBOL Apps Critical

COBOL still plays a critical role for many enterprises, with 85 percent of survey respondents indicating that COBOL apps perform a strategic role for their business. More than nine in 10 COBOL apps with at least 1 million lines of code are considered strategic.

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Longevity Emerges as Key Component

One-half of COBOL apps have at least a 10-year lifespan. Nearly two-thirds have a seven-year lifespan.

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IT Agenda Includes Modernization and Integration Efforts

The report indicates that 55 percent of COBOL apps will be the subject of modernization projects over the next 24 months. Among COBOL apps with less than a three-year lifespan, 27 percent will receive integration work.

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Developers Rely Upon Agile and Waterfall

More than one-half of COBOL developers use Agile. One-quarter use Waterfall.

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Test Automation Plays Key Role

Nearly two-thirds of Agile COBOL developers use test automation. More than seven of 10 use continuous integration.

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Developers Take Advantage of Release Automation

Three of five Waterfall COBOL developers use continuous integration. In addition, 55 percent use release automation.

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High Projections for Linux Adoption

Micro Focus reports that 77 percent of respondents indicate that their organization is adopting Linux as a future platform for app deployment. Visual Studio and Eclipse are also popular, with 70 percent of organizations adopting at least one of these.

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Companies Focused on Knowledge Transfer, Hardware Skills

In ranking top concerns about future IT skills planning, 63 percent of survey respondents cited the need to transfer knowledge. Nearly three of five cited a lack of hardware skills.

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Aging Demographic Raises Concerns

About one-quarter of COBOL professionals are age 56 or higher, and 38 percent are between age 45 to 55. One-third of respondents indicate that employee retirements will impact their business.

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