62% of mainframes now run web-enabled applications, new Macro 4 research reveals

… but users are relying on expensive customized web interfaces rather than using third party software or other shortcuts to deliver mainframe web access.


Crawley, UK, November 24, 2015 – At least 62% of IBM mainframe users polled in a new survey say their organization has web enabled some of their mainframe applications, with 63% of those saying a key driver was the increased productivity that web-based mainframe access delivers. Most (70%) have chosen to develop their own customized web interfaces for applications rather than using third party software or other faster, lower cost approaches.

The findings come from a survey by software and services company Macro 4, a division of UNICOM® Global. The research highlights the following benefits for web enabling mainframe applications:

  • ‘Increasing productivity by allowing users to access the mainframe while travelling, working from home or out of office hours’ (cited by 63% of the sample)
  • ‘Making it easier to allow customers and partners to access mainframe applications’ (50%)
  • ‘Increasing ease of use for staff who are unfamiliar with the mainframe’ (47%)
  • ‘Reducing the cost of training and educating staff who are unfamiliar with the mainframe’ (41%)
  • ‘Delivering cost savings by reducing dependency on terminal emulation software’ (27%)

Lynda Kershaw, marketing manager at Macro 4, said, “There are many good reasons for web enabling mainframe applications as our survey highlights. Users on the go expect mobile access to just about any application they work with and vital online customer services like banking and insurance often need access to the mainframe. Web access also offers a more user-friendly alternative to traditional ‘green screen’ command line interfaces.”

A surprising finding from the survey was that few mainframe users are turning to dedicated software or other shortcuts that can web enable their applications, or acknowledge that web enablement could cut terminal emulation costs.

“Creating a customized web interface for a mainframe application soaks up time and resources and creates extra pressure for companies already suffering from mainframe skills shortages,” explained Kershaw. “There are also risks associated with making changes to your core applications, so you need to think carefully before going down this route.”

One shortcut is to use session management software with a browser interface, such as Tubes from Macro 4, as an instant way of web enabling mainframe applications, without changing the underlying application or creating a new interface. The original 3270 user interface is automatically transformed into a browser interface that responds to mouse clicks and touch screens so that it can be used on a PC or mobile device.

There are additional options for customization such as merging several screens into one to make navigation faster and easier. Drop-downs and buttons can be added to replace commands, which reduces the need for user training, for example.

Commenting on the fact that less than a third (27%) of the survey sample quoted reduced terminal emulation costs as a benefit of web enabling applications, Kershaw said:

“Mainframe customers often have hundreds or even thousands of staff using terminal emulation software to access mainframe applications from PCs and laptops, amounting to significant license costs. So it was surprising that few of those we polled see web enabling mainframe applications as a way to slash those costs.”

Macro 4 ran the survey of 65 IBM mainframe users in November 2015 at the GSE UK Conference held by GUIDE SHARE EUROPE (GSE), the premier IBM User Group in Europe.


Media Contact:
Uday Radia, CloudNine PR, +44 (0)7940 584161

About Macro 4

Macro 4, a division of UNICOM Global, develops software solutions to improve the performance of business-critical applications and processes. Macro 4’s solutions for information delivery, data management, fault analysis, mainframe modernization and performance management are easy to use, fast to implement and deliver value quickly in even the most complex IT environments.

About UNICOM® Global

UNICOM Global consists of more than thirty-seven (37) corporate entities encompassing a wide range of businesses across all geographic regions. With its corporate headquarters in Los Angeles, California, to offices in Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, New Jersey, Texas and Virginia, throughout EMEA in the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland and the UAE, and across Asia/Pacific with locations in India, Australia, Singapore, Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and the Philippines. UNICOM Global offers deep in-house resources and flexible IT solutions to our partners worldwide. UNICOM Global focuses on acquiring and integrating mature and growing mid-cap NASDAQ, London Stock Exchange AIM and German publically-traded companies in technology, financing, IT, real estate, and business services. Please visit our websites for additional information about the services, products and solutions that UNICOM Global offers:   UNICOM Global - Assets, capital and investment management   UNICOM Systems - IBM Mainframe software products   UNICOM Government (formerly NASDAQ: GTSI) - Government IT solutions   UNICOM Engineering (formerly NASDAQ: NEI) Appliance platform2   solidDB – In-memory relational database management system   U.S. Robotics - Data communications products   Memeo - Enterprise-grade Secure File Sharing for the cloud   Firetide - Wireless technology solutions for security and transportation   DETEC - Document composition products   SoftLanding Systems - IBM i software products   illustro - z/OS and z/VSE software products   Macro 4 (formerly LONDON: MAO) - Document Management products   iET Solutions - ITIL ITSM software products   Eden - Domino Notes and Open Systems products - Hardware, Software, Outsourcing and Professional Service   UNICOM Capital - Business and Financial Services

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