COBOL Market Shown to be Three Times Larger than Previously Estimated

Micro Focus has announced the results of its new COBOL Survey that reveals the latest global developments and 2022 plans for enterprises utilizing COBOL and mainframe technology. The survey found that not only is COBOL continually viewed as strategic by 92% of respondents, but that the amount of COBOL code has significantly increased.

According to the global survey, the amount of COBOL code in daily use increased significantly to 775-850 billion lines. Micro Focus commissioned this new report on COBOL's usage as part of  its regular market analysis program.

"As organizations look to deliver on IT strategies through modernization and digital transformation initiatives, the findings of the latest COBOL survey demonstrate the continued importance of COBOL for application modernization and business change," said Ed Airey, director of COBOL product marketing, Micro Focus. "800 billion lines of code reinforces the importance, and continued investment, in this most trusted of core business system technologies. This significant volume of COBOL application code in the marketplace represents remarkable value for organizations and requires ongoing investment as part of a larger modernization strategy.  For IT leaders, supporting core business systems, COBOL application modernization lies at the heart of digital transformation."

Produced by Vanson Bourne, the survey asked COBOL-connected architects, software engineers, developers, development managers, and IT executives from 49 countries to determine and calculate the volume of COBOL application code running production systems, as well as the strategic importance of COBOL applications to their business, future application road maps, planning, and resources.

Key findings of the Micro Focus COBOL Surveys include:

  • Global COBOL Code Volume hits new highs: More than 800 billion lines of code running on production systems and in daily use, far exceeding any previous estimates.
  • The direction is continued growth: Nearly half of the survey's respondents expect the amount of COBOL in use at their organization to increase in the next 12 months. Furthermore, last year's research report showed that over half of respondents (52%) expect for their organizations' COBOL applications to remain for at least the next decade, with more than four in five expecting that COBOL will still be in use when they ultimately retire--creating a need for continued COBOL investment and modernization for next gen developers.
  • COBOL remains strategic for organizations: 92% of respondents stated that their organizations' COBOL applications are strategic with future IT strategy and application portfolio alignment with new technology being listed as the key drivers for COBOL modernization.
  • Modernization of COBOL applications is the preferred path forward: As opposed to a rip and replace approach, 64% of respondents intend to modernize their COBOL applications and 72% of respondents see modernization as an overall business strategy.
  • Cloud is the primary technology driving application modernization: When asked about their company's plans for COBOL and the cloud in 2021, 43% of the survey's respondents stated that their COBOL applications do and will support cloud by the end of the year. In addition, 41% stated that new business projects require integration with existing COBOL systems.

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