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Why Data Drives Mainframe Modernization

Mainframes are arguably the heart of government technology. At every level, agencies use them for such vital activities as data processing and resource planning. No matter the activity, however, mainframes keep agencies serving citizens effectively.

But what happens when mainframes approach retirement age? For agencies, the answer is more strain on their people, processes and technology.

Fortunately, data can help agencies’ mainframes enter the future. Using data, agencies can implement world-class IT processes and smarter decision-making.

On Tuesday, GovLoop covered every step of using data to guide mainframe modernization during its latest briefing center. GovLoop’s mainframe-focused briefing center was a two-hour collection of different online trainings.

“If you don’t have stakeholder support throughout the life of the modernization project, you’re going to have a lot of pain,” said David Taylor, Vice President, Software AG Government Solutions. Software AG Government Solutions is an IT software provider who sponsored Tuesday’s event. “It is really important to have people understand the value proposition by telling stories that are relevant to them.”

Here are three other takeaways from Wednesday’s event:

Live with Legacy Technology

Too often, modernizing legacy mainframes is presented as the end of era. Delaware’s Courts, however, offer proof agencies can balance legacy and modern technology with their data.

“We can absolutely turn our legacy systems into these shiny new toys everyone wants to see on their monitors,” said Betsy Bachmurski, Application Support Project Leader, Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), Judicial Information Center (JIC), Delaware Courts.

By understanding their data, agencies such as Bachmurski’s can use it to run modern applications without removing any information from their legacy mainframes.

Map Data’s Direction

Data migration can drastically impede agencies’ mainframe modernizations. Subsequently, mapping where their data flows can help agencies reach their desired destination.

“The applications are going to end up being the driver for your data,” said Richard Ladendecker, President, Konigi, Inc. Konigi, Inc. provides data automation and migration tools. “Data is useless without getting the rules for how to format and use it.”

Ladendecker added agencies should determine how their applications will use their data for the best results. According to Ladendecker, this analysis will help agencies decide how much of their data should migrate from legacy to modern IT.

“It will either be an as-is, one to one migration, a hybrid migration with some customization or a complete transformation,” he said.

See the Whole Picture

Most agencies collect so much data that seeing their entire collections can seem impossible. But data visualization can present all an agency’s data in one place for easy comprehension.

“In today’s world, we’re seeing an unrelenting demand for data, said Harpal Gill, Vice President, CONNX Group. CONNX Group provides data access solutions. “The concept of visualization is multiple data sources in a single view.”

Ultimately, mainframe modernization doesn’t need to be a choice between legacy and modern technology. By recognizing where their data goes, there are no heights agencies’ mainframes can’t reach.

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