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Cobol’s relevance in the 21st century

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MigrationWare, Micro Focus, Nedbank and Syspro are set to unpack Cobol's
future at a Cobol User Group (COBUG) meeting later this month (19
September).

MigrationWare, the South African Cobol User Group (COBUG) and
MigrationWare's strategic partner, Micro Focus, will present a free seminar
at the JSE in Johannesburg. The event will be addressed by speakers from
Nedbank (a key MigrationWare client) and Syspro (a Micro Focus partner) and
will look at the future of the Cobol development language.
João de Oliveira, sales director at MigrationWare, says while other
programming languages have come and gone, Cobol has been around for over 50
years and continues to be used widely across the world.
"More than 60% of all company information accessible through the Internet is
stored on mainframes, with 83% of all transactions and 95% of all financial
and insurance data being processed by Cobol mainframes," he says.
Cobol is still the first choice of financial institutions because mission
critical high throughput systems require proven technology, predictability,
reliability, scalability, high performance and ease of integration to
function optimally. And that is exactly what Cobol provides.
"The focus of the seminar will therefore be to explore how to take advantage
of Cobol and use it as part of a modernisation strategy into the future," de
Oliveira says.
Peter Anderton, Micro Focus UK Product Solutions Director: Application
Development, will be unpacking how Cobol has stayed ahead of the technology
curve for half a century and why it makes sense to use Cobol in so many
organisations.
Furthermore, he'll be looking at the Cobol skills shortage and how the
language is leading the way in many organisations. He'll also be discussing
some of the Micro Focus products and how they are used in Cobol development.
Russell Hollick, Syspro Research Director, will present on why a South
African company like Syspro uses Cobol and has 14 000 clients in over 60
countries around the world.
John Bourhill, Nedbank GSS technical specialist, will give an overview of
how Cobol is used at Nedbank, how the bank has looked to modernise its use
of Cobol and his perspective on where Cobol is going in the future.
De Oliveira says with over two million developers using Cobol around the
world and the total investment in Cobol technology, staff and hardware
estimated at over $5-trillion, Cobol is here to stay.
"The focus on Cobol is very much on how to modernise an IT enterprise
founded on Cobol. Many companies are using tools like Micro Focus Mainframe
Express to take their Cobol development off the mainframe, while other
companies are migrating Cobol applications off the mainframe onto other
platforms, emulating the mainframe environment while retaining their Cobol
programs," he says.
James Lemon, President of COBUG SA, says there is a desperate need in South
Africa for a greater focus on Cobol.
"While the banks are training over 600 Cobol developers a year, there are no
Cobol training institutions preparing programmers to quickly be able to meet
the changing business demands from organisations on their internal
development environments.
"This free seminar is the first in a series that will, over time, look to
stimulate interest and involvement in Cobol," he says.