WSJ Tech Live Fireside Chat with Milan Shetti: Managing Modernization Without Disruption

Milan Shetti

November 4, 2022

In today’s digital world, any company that uses technology to meet or solve customer needs should consider itself a tech company. Technology can make or break a company’s outcomes for its customers, which is why all companies need to understand why and how to successfully modernize their current tech stacks in order to provide a better customer experience. Too often, I see businesses make the mistake of blindly following tech trends and jumping from one platform to another without sufficient planning, disrupting operations and struggling to deliver outcomes and revenue.

As part of this year’s WSJ® Tech Live Conference, on Tuesday, October 25, I had the opportunity to participate in a fireside chat hosted by the senior editor of WSJ’s branded content division, The Trust, Brian Kamenetzky. During the fireside chat, which you can watch in full below, Brian and I discussed the complex infrastructure challenges facing businesses today, as well as the vital role mainframe systems continue to play in today’s markets, the importance of modernization and why companies that adopt hybrid cloud models are ahead of the curve.

To recap, here are the four biggest takeaways from our discussion:

1. The mainframe is still the future

For decades, mission-critical companies have relied on mainframes and similar mission-critical platforms for three key reasons: their resiliency, security and data governance. As we have learned from Rocket Software’s 2022 survey report: The State of the Mainframe, these technologies are still the cornerstone of most large enterprises, with 80% of IT professionals agreeing that the mainframe is still critical to business operations. As trends like cloud-based solutions continue to surface, companies that can achieve selective and in-place modernization that takes advantage of both cloud and mainframe technology are—and will continue—doing well

2. Modernize in place, rather than “rip and replace”

With new innovative tools and technologies emerging by the day, the urge for companies to “rip and replace” mainframe systems for cloud software is hard to ignore. However, rip and replace approaches to modernization are highly risky, requiring a lot of time, energy and cost with no guarantee of success. Organizations must replace everything they had while trying to match the resiliency, data governance and security of the mainframe, which often leads to significant operational disruptions and an inability to deliver business and customer outcomes.

With the right technology, any innovative application can be developed in the cloud and safely and securely connected to the mainframe with little disruption. By adopting hybrid models and modernizing in place, businesses can continue to leverage the reliability and security of their mission-critical infrastructure while providing teams with the flexibility and technology to implement the latest tools and practices into their operations—at a fraction of the time, cost and headache.

3. Hybrid cloud is here to stay

Ten of the top 10 companies in the banking, defense, space and healthcare industries continue to leverage mainframe technology through hybrid cloud models. Each of these industries’s core infrastructure continues to live in mainframe environments, but companies still need cloud technologies to utilize APIs that provide teams and customers with web and mobile applications. Companies within these industries have adopted a hybrid cloud approach to infrastructure to produce successful business and customer outcomes and, as a result, are flourishing and outpacing organizations with “rip and replace” approaches to modernization.

4. Keep customers top of mind throughout modernization efforts

Companies that take the time to understand what their customers are really looking for from their business can take a more strategic approach to modernization. Identifying and then working backwards from customer needs allows modernization teams to more concisely determine where application and process modernization is necessary to provide better customer outcomes. By making your customers your North Star, your company will not only mitigate disruptions and save time and resources through selective in-place modernization but will also ensure that each step of their modernization efforts is aligned with the outcomes their customers truly want.

As a proud sponsor of this year’s WSJ Tech Live Conference, the fireside chat was a fantastic opportunity to share Rocket’s knowledge and expertise around the modernization of mission-critical systems with fellow leaders within the tech space. As we dive deeper into an age of modernization, Rocket looks forward to the challenges ahead as we continue our mission to simplify mainframe modernization for our clients

To learn how Rocket Software can simplify your mainframe modernization project, visit our modernization page.