Risk Considerations When Migrating from COBOL to C#

by HSG on Oct 16, 2018 in

 

Over time, companies are migrating from COBOL to the latest standard of C# solutions due to reasons such as cumbersome deployment processes, scarcity of trained developers, platform dependencies, increasing maintenance fees. Whether a company wants to migrate to reporting applications, operational infrastructure, or management support systems, shifting from COBOL to C# solutions can be time-consuming and highly risky, expensive, and complicated. However, the following four techniques can help companies reduce the complexity and risk around their modernization efforts. 

All COBOL to C# Solutions are Equal 

It can be daunting for a company to sift through a set of sophisticated services and tools on the market to boost their modernization efforts. Manual modernization solutions often turn into an endless nightmare while the automated ones are saturated with solutions that generate codes that are impossible to maintain and extend once the migration is over. However, your IT department can still work with tools and services and create code that is easier to manage if it wants to capitalize on technologies such as DevOps. 

Narrow the Focus 

Most legacy systems are incompatible with newer systems. For years now, companies have passed legacy systems to one another without considering functional relationships and proper documentation features. However, a detailed analysis of databases and legacy systems can be useful in decision-making and risk mitigation in any modernization effort. It is fairly common for companies to uncover a lot of unused and dead code when they analyze their legacy inventory carefully. Those discoveries, however can help reduce the cost involved in project implementation and the scope of COBOL to C# modernization. Research has revealed that legacy inventory analysis can result in a 40% reduction of modernization risk. Besides making the modernization effort less complex, trimming unused and dead codes and cost reduction, companies can gain a lot more from analyzing these systems. 

Understand Thyself 

For most companies, the legacy system entails an entanglement of intertwined code developed by former employees who long ago left the organization. The developers could apply any standards and left behind little documentation, and this made it extremely risky for a company to migrate from a COBOL to C# solution. In 2013, CIOs teamed up with other IT stakeholders in the insurance industry in the U.S to conduct a study that found that only 18% of COBOL to C# modernization projects complete within the scheduled period. Further research revealed that poor legacy application understanding was the primary reason projects could not end as expected. 

Furthermore, using the accuracy of the legacy system for planning and poor understanding of the breadth of the influence of the company rules and policies within the legacy system are some of the risks associated with migrating from COBOL to C# solutions. The way an organization understands the source environment could also impact the ability to plan and implement a modernization project successfully. However, accurate, in-depth knowledge about the source environment can help reduce the chances of cost overrun since workers understand the internal operations in the migration project. That way, companies can understand how time and scope impact the efforts required to implement a plan successfully. 

Use of Sequential Files 

Companies often use sequential files as an intermediary when migrating from COBOL to C# solution to save data. Alternatively, sequential files can be used for report generation or communication with other programs. However, software mining doesn’t migrate these files to SQL tables; instead, it maintains them on file systems. Companies can use data generated on the COBOL system to continue to communicate with the rest of the system at no risk. Sequential files also facilitate a secure migration path to advanced standards such as MS Excel. 

Modern systems offer companies a range of portfolio analysis that allows for narrowing down their scope of legacy application migration. Organizations may also capitalize on it to shed light on migration rules hidden in the ancient legacy environment. COBOL to C# modernization solution uses an extensible and fully maintainable code base to develop functional equivalent target application. Migration from COBOL solution to C# applications involves language translation, analysis of all artifacts required for modernization, system acceptance testing, and database and data transfer. While it’s optional, companies could need improvements such as coding improvements, SOA integration, clean up, screen redesign, and cloud deployment.

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