COBOL stays top of mind for businesses in 2020

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A new study has revealed that businesses are still heavily reliant on the venerable  COBOL programming systems.

According to a survey by Micro Focus, which follows data gathered in previous 2017 survey, 70 percent of enterprises favor modernization as an approach for implementing strategic change.

This is opposed to replacing or retiring their key COBOL applications as they continue to provide a low-risk and effective means of transforming IT to support digital business initiatives.

COBOL and modernization

Micro Focus' survey asked COBOL-connected architects, software engineers, developers, development managers and IT executives from 40 different countries about the strategic importance of COBAL applications to their business including future application roadmaps and planning as well as their development toolchains and resources.

When asked about their company's plans for COBOL in 2020, 63 percent of those surveyed stated that they are planning to modernize their system and applications with a focus on functionality and process. 

This is further supported by the results of the survey with an increase in the size of the average application code base which grew from 8.4m in 2017 to 9.9m this year, showing continued investment, re-use and expansion in core business systems.

Senior vice president of application modernization and connectivity at Micro Focus, Chris Livesey explained that even after 60 years, COBOL still has a place in the modern enterprise, saying:

“As we see the attitudes around COBOL modernization with changes to where and how it needs to be delivered and how its usage continues to grow, COBOL’s credentials as a strong digital technology appear to be set for another decade. With 60 years of experience supporting mission-critical applications and business systems, COBOL continues to evolve as a flexible and resilient computer language that will remain relevant and important for businesses around the world.”

“Thanks to the original design’s readability, adapability and portability, COBOL adds tremendous value for companies as a dependable solution that will continue to grow and thrive”, Livesey added.

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.