Business Development Opportunities through COBOL Modernisation

Last Updated: 

February 29, 2024

In a time when the technology revolution is considered the key determinant of a company's success, organisations face a lot of decisions. The challenge? COBOL is an old woman language that is still widely used today. Modernising legacy systems, especially those that are written in COBOL, without any disruption to day-to-day operations. COBOL, as an acronym for Common Business-Oriented Language, has become one of the most important languages in the software development industry since the early 1960s. COBOL, developed in the 1950s, remains highly relevant, processing up to 80% of all business transactions, with a strong influence on the world economy as a whole.

At the same time, there are growing concerns about the gap between COBOL and the digital landscape, for which COBOL systems no longer fit. They unavoidably need to catch up on the loops of the latest technologies, obstructing the business's growth and innovation. Therefore, COBOL modernisation is not just a vanilla IT necessity; it should be seen as a cleverly placed business choice that will unveil numerous development windows.

Key Takeaways on COBOL Modernisation for Business Opportunities:

  1. COBOL's Enduring Significance: COBOL, originating in the 1950s, processes 80% of all business transactions, making it a vital language in the software development industry. Despite its age, it significantly influences the global economy.
  2. Critical Need for Modernisation: In the digital age, the rapid pace of change demands COBOL modernisation. Ageing systems hinder business growth and innovation, emphasising the urgency for seamless integration with modern technologies.
  3. Enhancing Competitiveness: To stay competitive, companies must balance agility, innovation, and effectiveness. Updating COBOL operations leads to operational efficiency, cost reduction, and improved services, contributing to organisational competitiveness.
  4. Addressing Skills Gap: The dwindling number of COBOL-skilled programmers creates a skills gap. Modernising COBOL applications not only addresses immediate challenges but also fosters sustainable development by transitioning to newer programming languages.
  5. Complex Path to Modernisation: COBOL system modernisation involves intricate stages of planning, strategy, and execution. It's not just a change in programming language but a complete overhaul of IT infrastructure, enabling continuous innovation and growth.
  6. Strategic Approaches for Modernisation: The choice between re-hosting, re-platforming, refactoring, re-architecting, or replacing systems depends on organisational needs, capabilities, and long-term goals. Each approach comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
  7. Development Opportunities Through Modernisation: Embracing modernisation creates development opportunities, improving customer satisfaction, loyalty, and enabling exploration of new business models and markets. A significant portion of enterprises still relies on COBOL, offering ample room for modernisation-driven development.
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The Necessity To Rejuvenate COBOL.

In today's digital age, fast-paced change is the only constant. The need for COBOL software modernization is critical. With businesses of the world trying to stay ahead of the race in their competition, the use of COBOL old systems poses a big hindrance accordingly. While their long service has been the mainstay of enterprise computing, most of these old systems now need help to effectively integrate with modern technologies, resulting in a lot of lost opportunities and inefficiency. The trip to modernisation is not only about trending with technological development but about opening new ideas for advantages, efficiency, and customer satisfaction.

Staying Competitive

Today is a world of speed and competition; that's why companies need to combine agility, innovation, and effectiveness. The stability and reliability of outdated systems pose a problem as they need to offer the agility to adjust to new market models or dynamic customer preferences. The renewal of COBOL's operation ability can result in operational efficiency, cost reduction, and better services, thus, the competitiveness of the organisation.

Bridging the Skills Gap

It is expected that the number of COBOL-skilled programmers will decrease. This is driving the skills gap. Modernising COBOL applications enables businesses to migrate to newer programming languages, which helps attract candidates and develop new software. Besides, this adjustment does not only meet the current problem of legacy systems but also contributes to the long-term future of their sustainable development.

The Path to Modernisation

Modernising the systems written in COBOL is an unwieldy process that comprises the stages of planning, strategy, and execution. We're not simply changing the programming language but rearranging all of our IT infrastructure to allow for continuous innovation and growth.

Understanding COBOL Migration

The next COBOL migration stage is the transition of the COBOL-based systems to the modernisation platform using different languages or programming languages. Such a transition allows business operations to increase the level of technology as well as the quality of performance, scalability, and integration efficiency. Delving deeper into this process would be better enhanced if COBOL software modernisation is explored for its additional options and strategies.

Strategic Approaches to Modernisation

The process of modernisation may occur in different forms, either through re-hosting, re-platforming, refactoring, re-architecting, or replacing. On the one hand, each approach has advantages and disadvantages, and the decision is important in relation to the needs, capabilities, and long-term goals of the organisation.

Different Trends in Using Modernisation for Business Development

Modernisation of business models enables a variety of development opportunities for business. The system's well-performed and proven reliability might lead to better customer satisfaction and loyalty. In addition, embracing the latest technologies will facilitate exploring new ways of doing business, entering new markets, and creating unique products and services.

Application, Process and Infrastructure

For example, a 2020 survey by Micro Focus showed that 70% of present enterprise applications still depend on COBOL. Thus, a large extent exists for development to modernise. Another research could touch upon the cost reduction or increased efficiency achieved by businesses whose legacy systems have been successfully upgraded.


The road of COBOL legacy transformation is not only a technical update but also a long-term plan to avoid a left-over situation by businesses. Through the adoption of modernism, enterprises can surpass the challenges of a narrow scope of development, innovation, and competitive advantage. The scheme may be tricky, but the benefits, which include excellent efficiency, agility, and sustainability, are great.

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