IBM has announced new software and services for companies that want to update old applications, particularly mainframe-based programs.
These old applications, often described as legacy applications, are still used to run critical operations, such as credit card transactions, payroll systems and manufacturing processes.
IBM estimates that these legacy applications, some of which are 40 years old, run 70% of the world's major business operations. But they could be absorbing up to 80% of software budgets to maintain, claimed the company.
It is not economically feasible for companies to rip out these applications, but they can be updated to perform new tasks, operate over the internet and be cheaper to maintain, IBM said.
IBM Global Services has introduced Application Portfolio Management Services in which its consultants evaluate a company's applications and recommend which ones should be scrapped, updated or left alone.
Its Legacy Transformation Services is a set of modular services which can be used alone or together to web-enable legacy applications, thus extending them over the internet to employees, clients and suppliers.
On the software side, IBM's new WebSphere tools will simplify the process of enabling zSeries mainframe applications to function over the internet; provide a graphical interface to mainframe applications that use a command-line one; and simplify the creation of e-commerce applications for IBM's midrange iSeries servers.
Pricing and availability of the new services and software tools has yet to be announced.