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ISG to Publish Study on Modernizing Mainframes in the Enterprise Environment

ISG Provider Lens™ report will look at ways providers are helping enterprises move mainframe applications to the cloud

Information Services Group (ISG) (Nasdaq: III), a leading global technology research and advisory firm, has launched a research study examining service providers that help enterprise customers modernize their traditional mainframe-based IT environments and move applications to the cloud.

The study results will be published in a comprehensive ISG Provider Lens™ report, called Mainframes ­– Services and Solutions, scheduled to be released in April. The report will cover several mainframe-related services, including mainframe modernization, mainframe application modernization and mainframes as a service.

The report also looks at ways enterprises that prefer to keep legacy applications on mainframe platforms can introduce agile methods, DevOps, application programming interfaces and microservices to improve agility and integrate mainframes with private and public clouds.

Enterprise buyers will be able to use information from the report to evaluate their current vendor relationships, potential new engagements and available offerings, while ISG advisors use the information to recommend providers to the firm’s buy-side clients.

The new report will examine how service providers are helping enterprises move to cloud environments and align their mainframe applications with their digital business strategies, said Jan Erik Aase, partner and global leader, ISG Provider Lens Research. “Service providers leverage high-performance hardware and software tools for continuous modernization, enabling mainframe applications to integrate with new technologies and computing platforms,” he said.

ISG has distributed surveys to more than 65 mainframe technology and service providers. Working in collaboration with ISG’s global advisors, the research team will produce five quadrants representing the services and products the typical enterprise client is buying in the mainframe space, based on ISG’s experience working with its clients. The five quadrants are:

  • Mainframe Modernization, examining providers that offer legacy application modernization and introduce code repositories such as GitHub or equivalents, DevOps integration, testing automation and security testing. Modernization retains the original programing language, such as COBOL, adding architecture optimization and documentation to enable agility.
  • Mainframe Application Modernization and Transformation, covering providers of application development and maintenance services with newer application modernization methodologies to assess and rewrite legacy programming language applications written with COBOL, RPG, Fortran, PL/1, Natural and others that typically run on mainframes. The main target programming languages may include Java, .Net, C# and others, enabling the same logic and business rules to run on any platform, including the public cloud.
  • Mainframes as a Service (MFaaS), examining infrastructure service providers that offer shared IBM Z mainframes under a pay-per-use contract model. Services include facilities, hardware, connectivity, mainframe network management, licensing, operating system and subsystems, tools, and all maintenance services that are required to keep mainframe workloads running per the expected performance established upfront.
  • Mainframe Operations, assessing traditional outsourcing providers with extensive experience in offering mainframe services. Typical participants employ experienced practitioners to cover legacy mainframe technologies and the most recent mainframe releases. Mainframe operations service providers offer skilled teams to keep clients’ mainframes running. These services include job scheduling, performance optimization, CICS©, batch, backup, restore, system upgrades, security patches and other typical mainframe operations.
  • Mainframe Application Modernization Software, examining providers of software and toolsets that enable legacy application assessments and application conversion, including replatforming, rehosting, refactoring, rewriting or reengineering. Mainframe modernization software includes reverse engineering, business logic mapping, business rules extraction, code review and inspection, documentation, emulators, compilers, frameworks and application development tools that can accelerate code modernization and application modernization.

The report will examine mainframe products and services available in the U.S., Canada and Europe. ISG analysts Pedro L. Bicudo Maschio and Oliver Nickels will serve as authors.

A list of identified providers and vendors and further details on the study are available in this digital brochure. Companies not listed as mainframe service providers can contact ISG and ask to be included in the study.

About ISG Provider Lens™ Research

The ISG Provider Lens™ Quadrant research series is the only service provider evaluation of its kind to combine empirical, data-driven research and market analysis with the real-world experience and observations of ISG's global advisory team. Enterprises will find a wealth of detailed data and market analysis to help guide their selection of appropriate sourcing partners, while ISG advisors use the reports to validate their own market knowledge and make recommendations to ISG's enterprise clients. The research currently covers providers offering their services globally, across Europe, as well as in the U.S., Germany, Switzerland, the U.K., France, the Nordics, Brazil and Australia/New Zealand, with additional markets to be added in the future. For more information about ISG Provider Lens research, please visit this webpage.

A companion research series, the ISG Provider Lens Archetype reports, offer a first-of-its-kind evaluation of providers from the perspective of specific buyer types.

About ISG

ISG (Information Services Group) (Nasdaq: III) is a leading global technology research and advisory firm. A trusted business partner to more than 700 clients, including more than 75 of the world’s top 100 enterprises, ISG is committed to helping corporations, public sector organizations, and service and technology providers achieve operational excellence and faster growth. The firm specializes in digital transformation services, including automation, cloud and data analytics; sourcing advisory; managed governance and risk services; network carrier services; strategy and operations design; change management; market intelligence and technology research and analysis. Founded in 2006, and based in Stamford, Conn., ISG employs more than 1,300 digital-ready professionals operating in more than 20 countries—a global team known for its innovative thinking, market influence, deep industry and technology expertise, and world-class research and analytical capabilities based on the industry’s most comprehensive marketplace data. For more information, visit


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