IBM used its DeveloperWorks conference in New Orleans this week to announce new software and services for companies that want to update decades-old mainframe programmes.
IBM estimated that legacy applications, some of which are 40 years old, run 70% of the world's major business operations. But because they have been modified, migrated and adapted so many times, their maintenance is complicated, time-consuming and costly, eating up about 80% of software budgets.
It is not economically feasible for many companies to simply rip out these applications, but IBM said companies could update and transform these programs so that they can perform new tasks, operate over the internet and be easier and cheaper to maintain.
The two new services from IBM's Global Services unit are:
Application Portfolio Management Services, in which IBM consultants evaluate a company's applications and recommend which ones should be scrapped, updated or left alone.
Legacy Transformation Services, 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 is announcing new WebSphere tools to simplify the process of enabling zSeries mainframe applications to function over the internet. This will include providing a graphical interface with drop-down menus and hot links to mainframe applications that use a command-line interface and simplifying the creation of e-commerce applications for IBM's midrange iSeries servers.
IBM said the new services and software tools are now available worldwide, but would not provide pricing details, because prices vary depending on the scope and size of projects.