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Shiny and new vs. tried and true

If your business operates on a COBOL mainframe and you’re lacking resources, don’t worry. You don’t need to get rid of COBOL or upgrade to a different system—you just need the right support, and it’s still out there. 

Crisis calls for COBOL 

The pandemic has created a resurgent need for COBOL programmers across the many organizations and industries that operate on a mainframe system—and there are more than you might think. Even though it’s a 60-year-old language, more than half of the United States rely on mainframe systems based on COBOL. 

Government agencies have become acutely aware of their heavy reliance on COBOL with all of the unemployment claims that are coming in. According to CNN, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy put out a call for volunteers who know how to code the decades-old computer programming language because many of the state’s systems still run on older mainframes. Kansas, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Mississippi and Oklahoma are some of the other states who have voiced the same need. 

And it’s not just the government—banks, airlines and retailers run on these mainframe systems as well. In fact, COBOL accounts for 70% of the world’s business transactions, and there are 220 billion lines of COBOL in existence. 

Resource roundup 

Having a COBOL mainframe is one thing. Finding programmers to operate an older system is another challenge. As newer systems developed and younger programmers followed the hot, new technology, companies who use COBOL began to outsource programming to other countries. With the pandemic, “work from home” is not as easy or technologically-possible for certain countries. They just don’t have the infrastructure that they need to be programmers at home.

There are talented, local resources available. You just need to know where and how to look for them, and how to place them within your organization. Element Consulting can help with your COBOL needs. From implementation and support to upgrades and advisory, we provide COBOL mainframe “lifecycle” services. We also have the right people for the job. Our base of senior-level consultants have a minimum of 5 years experience in COBOL mainframe programming. 

Like anything in our world, something sexier and faster always comes along and mainframe systems like these were no different. But the fact of the matter is, what’s come along isn’t always necessarily better. Say what you want about COBOL, but it works and it works well. It’s not going away anytime soon. 

We speak COBOL. Connect with us to start talking.