Fujitsu’s VME customers run critical custom-built applications on its mainframe-based operating system, but were starting to struggle with rising developer costs and challenges with modernization.
Fujitsu offers application management services for VME application suites, which utilize an IBM solution to analyze mainframe-based application landscapes—simplifying development and management.
20%boost in application profitability, by enabling new revenue streams
25%cut in application development and management time drives innovation
Transformsmainframe-run applications for the digital age, promoting agility
Business challenge story
Growing complexityFor decades, mainframes have been the platform of choice for organizations looking for the processing power, reliability, availability and security that distributed solutions struggle to match. However, in today’s digital age, users are re-evaluating their mainframe landscapes in the face of challenges around licensing costs, technology expertise and the perceived complexity of application development. The situation is no different for companies that have developed bespoke, business-critical applications on one of Fujitsu’s mainframe operating systems (OS), Virtual Machine Environment (VME).
Mike Smith, VME Programme Manager at Fujitsu, takes up the story: “We have a number of longstanding customers such as government departments, banks, insurance companies and others, who over many years have developed bespoke applications running on VME.
“Though extremely secure and stable, legacy mainframe environments can be difficult to modernize. Over time they tend to become more customized and complex, and knowledge is often siloed. Lacking a clear overview, it can be difficult and risky to make changes, which limits business agility.
“What’s more, the developer pool is aging and most young developers don’t focus on mainframes, meaning that companies—including Fujitsu and our customers—are finding it harder and more expensive to find the people they need.”
For these reasons, in 2007, Fujitsu announced that it would be discontinuing VME licenses in 2020—but as the deadline approached, it recognized its customers’ ongoing requirements for their VME applications.
“Many of our customers still relied heavily on VME, and we didn’t want to pull the rug out from under their feet by suddenly ending support for it,” notes Mike Smith. “Instead, we developed services to host and manage their VME applications either in our own data centers or on their premises. In parallel, we wanted to help them modernize their environments, to extend the value of their investments in the mainframe.”
Making sense of applicationsTo successfully manage and modernize its clients’ VME application landscapes, Fujitsu needed a solution that would help it make sense of their complexities.
Mike Smith comments: “We built a business case and considered our options before selecting IBM Application Discovery and Delivery Intelligence. IBM’s mainframe heritage swung it for us; it was clear the company understands the importance of service continuity in protecting clients’ businesses.”
IBM Application Discovery and Delivery Intelligence utilizes cognitive technologies to analyze mainframe applications. Features such as root cause analysis enable users to gain an overview of systems and decipher how interdependencies will impact attempts to modernize them, enabling targeted testing.
Mike Smith continues: “We needed VME-specific extensions to the IBM ADDI solution. The implementation wasn’t the most straightforward as some of the languages we use are very bespoke, but IBM understood our vision, and worked closely and consistently with our team to get the job done.”
With the VME capabilities now in place, Fujitsu uses IBM ADDI as a key component of its application management services.
As a first step, Fujitsu uses the IBM solution to evaluate its clients’ code and decide how it can take on the management of their applications.
“Application documentation can often be incomplete, so using the IBM solution to gain a clear overview of our customers’ application suites is a game-changer—the knowledge it gives us enables us to be confident that we can support them,” explains Mike Smith. “We can readily identify any missing code and redundant code, and understand the code complexity. We then harness the IBM solution to write documentation, improve visibility into application modules, and better understand interactions and dependencies between them.”
Combining the best of both worldsWith the IBM solution in place, Fujitsu has dramatically reduced the time spent on VME application development and management, and cut the risk involved—enabling it to transform its customers’ business-critical application suites for the digital age.
Mike Smith states: “IBM Application Discovery and Delivery Intelligence gives us greater visibility into applications, taking the fear out of development and facilitating low-risk modernization. For example, if we make any changes to a field, we know which other programs it will affect, so we can target development and testing with little to no disruption on the rest of an organization’s IT systems.
“In addition, development managers can use the insights to plan mainframe application needs better, and resolve support issues faster. Overall, we estimate that the IBM solution cuts the time required for application development and management by 25 percent.”
Furthermore, the new services have created additional revenue streams and helped cut costs—boosting Fujitsu’s profitability.
“The new services offload the burden of application management and development from our clients, and boost our revenue,” explains Mike Smith. “Meanwhile, by demonstrating that we can modernize our clients’ applications better and more quickly with the IBM solution, we’re capturing more sales from our customers.
“The services also reduce costs for us and for our customers—they no longer need to maintain a dedicated application team in-house. Meanwhile, we can pool developer resources to create economies of scale, and take advantage of the opportunities for cost savings and optimizations highlighted by the IBM solution. Taking these factors into account, we estimate that application profitability has improved by 20 percent.”
This approach is also helping Fujitsu extend the longevity of customers’ VME mainframe strategies, delivering greater returns on their investments into the platform and increasing business agility.
He concludes: “The IBM solution enables us to break down siloes of knowledge and transform mainframe applications for the digital age—while retaining the security and stability that our enterprise customers need. It’s the best of both worlds.”
Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Fujitsu is a global information and communication technology company offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services. Approximately 155,000 Fujitsu employees support customers in more than 100 countries, and the company reports annual revenues of USD 42 billion.
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