COBOL's relevance in the 21st century

27 August 2008

COBOL's relevance in the 21st century

MigrationWare, Micro Focus, Nedbank and Syspro will unpack COBOL's future at a COBOL User Group (COBUG) Meeting.

MigrationWare, the South African COBOL User Group (COBUG) and MigrationWare's strategic partner, Micro Focus, will present a free seminar on the 19th of September at the JSE in Johannesburg. The event will be addressed by speakers from Nedbank (a key MigrationWare client) and Syspro (a Micro Focus partner) and will look at the future of the COBOL development language.

João de Oliveira, Sales Director at MigrationWare, says while other programming languages have come and gone, COBOL has been around for over 50 years and continues to be used widely across the world.

"More than 60 percent of all company information accessible through the Internet is stored on mainframes, with 83 percent of all transactions and 95 percent of all financial and insurance data being processed by COBOL mainframes," he says.

COBOL is still the first choice of financial institutions because mission critical high throughput systems require proven technology, predictability, reliability, scalability, high performance and ease of integration to function optimally. And that is exactly what COBOL provides.

"The focus of the seminar will therefore be to explore how to take advantage of COBOL and use it as part of a modernisation strategy into the future," de Oliveira says.

Peter Anderton, Micro Focus UK Product Solutions Director: Application Development, will be unpacking how COBOL has stayed ahead of the technology curve for half a century and why it makes sense to use COBOL in so many organisations.

Furthermore, he'll be looking at the COBOL skills shortage and how the language is leading the way in many organisations. He'll also be discussing some of the Micro Focus products and how they are used in COBOL development.

Russell Hollick, Syspro Research Director, will present on why a South African company like Syspro uses COBOL and has 14 000 clients in over 60 countries around the world.

John Bourhill, Nedbank GSS technical specialist, will give an overview of how COBOL is used at Nedbank, how the bank has looked to modernise its use of COBOL and his perspective on where COBOL is going in the future.

De Oliveira says with over two million developers using COBOL around the world and the total investment in COBOL technology, staff and hardware estimated at over US$5 trillion, COBOL is here to stay.

"The focus on COBOL is very much on how to modernise an IT enterprise founded on COBOL. Many companies are using tools like Micro Focus Mainframe Express to take their COBOL development off the mainframe, while other companies are migrating COBOL applications off the mainframe onto other platforms, emulating the mainframe environment while retaining their COBOL programs," he says.

James Lemon, President of COBUG SA, says there is a desperate need in South Africa for a greater focus on COBOL.

"While the banks are training over 600 COBOL developers a year, there are no COBOL training institutions preparing programmers to quickly be able to meet the changing business demands from organisations on their internal development environments.

"This free seminar is the first in a series that will, over time, look to stimulate interest and involvement in COBOL," he says.

About MigrationWare:

MigrationWare specialises in modernising legacy code and aging IT infrastructure by transforming and extending existing valuable investments in IT onto contemporary, open, more cost-effective environments or software languages. Through its commitment to automating the conversion and migration process, MigrationWare reduces to a minimum the costs and risks associated with IT rejuvenation projects.

MigrationWare and Micro Focus:

MigrationWare is a strategic partner of Micro Focus. MigrationWare's products supplement Micro Focus' offerings which are distributed by Micro Focus worldwide. MigrationWare also partners with Micro Focus on a number of international clients and distributes and supports Micro Focus software in Southern Africa.