Elevating Mainframe Modernization: Rocket Software’s AMC (formerly part of Micro Focus) Acquisition and Seamless Cloud Transition – Infrastructure Matters

Elevating Mainframe Modernization: Rocket Software's AMC (formerly part of Micro Focus) Acquisition and Seamless Cloud Transition - Infrastructure Matters

On this episode of the Infrastructure Matters, host Steven Dickens is joined by Rocket Software‘s Phil Buckellew, President of Infrastructure Modernization and Neil Fowler, Senior Vice President of Hybrid Cloud Engineering to discuss the recent acquisition of AMC (formerly part of Micro Focus) and the seamless transition of mainframe modernization to cloud environments. The conversation includes insights into the future of mainframe technologies and Rocket Software’s strategic direction.

Our discussion covers:

  • The critical importance of mainframe modernization and the new capabilities Rocket Software gains from the AMC acquisition.
  • An overview of the products included in the AMC acquisition and what they mean for mainframe customers.
  • The benefits businesses can expect when modernizing their mainframes, particularly through cloud integration.
  • Insight into Rocket Software’s promise for modernization without disruption, and what this process entails for their customers.

For more information visit Rocket Software’s modernization page.

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Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this webcast. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this webcast.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.


Steven Dickens: Hello and welcome. My name is Steven Dickens and I’m your host for another episode of Infrastructure Matters. I’m coming to you today from Newbury Racecourse, a fantastic location, and I’m joined by Neil and Phil, both from Rocket. Phil, what do you do for Rocket?

Phil Buckellew: I lead the infrastructure modernization team, so happy to be here.

Steven Dickens: And Neil, Rocket?

Neil Fowler: It’s software no less.

Steven Dickens: We’ve spoken at previous companies, but you work for Rocket now?

Neil Fowler: Yes, exactly. And we’re delighted to be here and especially with Phil and the rest of the team is fantastic. And I’m going to be looking after the hybrid cloud engineering.

Steven Dickens: So big day for the company. Transformational acquisition really going to change the trajectory of Rocket. I’ll come to you first, Phil, tell us a little bit about the acquisition, what this means and really how the industry should be thinking about this.

Phil Buckellew: Well, it’s a really exciting week for us and to be able to bring the tremendous skills that Neil and his team and the assets that they have brought to market and serve so many customers with makes it really exciting. With AMC a part of Rocket now we believe that we’re going to have the most complete, most comprehensive mainframe modernization portfolio as any company in the marketplace. And that’s going to bring tremendous value to our clients that are really more like our partners because we can help them solve so many different challenges in so many different ways that originally we couldn’t solve, but that Neil’s team could. And now being part of the same team, we just see tons of opportunities for us.

Steven Dickens: So Neil, one of the things that’s come through, we’ve spoken a number of times, I think we’ve spoken at Micro Focus, we’ve spoken at OpenText. I think for me the thing that’s come through from chatting to the teams over the last six months since this was announced is this portfolios coming whole.

Neil Fowler: Exactly.

Steven Dickens: What does that mean? And I think there’s more to it than just a throwaway line. What does that mean and what should really be people thinking about as this AMC portfolio joins Rocket?

Neil Fowler: Well, when you think about the AMC portfolios with the primary five of COBOL, of Enterprise Suite, host connectivity, main from ADLM, and CORBA. So with these broad range of technologies, there’s a fantastic synergy with all the tools, the people that products that would exist within the Rocket side. And that just means we’ve just got the combined strength of our two portfolios is fantastic. It gives our customers far more choice to help them, whatever they need to do. And one of the things that might not be obvious as part of this transaction is as well as the traditional products that we had in our host connectivity portfolio, we also have the OpenText connectivity portfolio with the Exceed and Hummingbird products. So we’ve got a broad range of terminal emulation and access software for mainframe Unisys, the full gamut of technologies, which really complements what we have.

Steven Dickens: Well, that was one thing for me as I looked to the acquisition, obviously there’s going to be a lot of focus on the COBOL and the Enterprise Suite, but I think one thing that kind of gets missed, and you touched on it there just briefly and I’m going to take you back to it, is some of that connectivity portfolio. That’s not just the portfolio that’s come through Micro Focus and OpenText and now to Rocket, it’s also some of that OpenText piece. So maybe just double-click quickly for us on that.

Neil Fowler: I mean, between now at Rocket we’ve just got such a broad range of terminal emulation software. So from a range of iSeries 3270 for mainframe, but with the Turbo Exceed product in terms of remote desktop access, very high-performance, really fantastic way if your people are using virtual desktop type environments to be able to get really high performance, especially for high graphical usage. So not only is it mainframe, we have the full spectrum across into cloud and hybrid and distributed environments as well.

Steven Dickens: So Phil, one of the things that you mentioned that I want to take you back to wherever customers are in their journey, it sounds a very twee kind of marketing line, but mainframe modernization kind of gets thrown around. There’s a lot of narratives pushed by various people that are looking to get people off the platform. I don’t see it that way. And we were talking about it off camera, it’s people are looking to modernize on the platform, they’re looking to connect the platform to other things, systems of engagement, potentially there’s some workloads that need to migrate and re-platform. Tell us a little bit about the Rocket strategy of now where the enhanced portfolio fits and really how you can bring that forward to meet people where they are on their journey.

Phil Buckellew: So this is really the great part of the acquisition is that we’re able to solve a lot of different challenges. If you’re a company that only has one approach, you’re limited in how you can address the challenges of the clients that you’re working with. And we’re all about modernization, but we understand there’s a lot of different drivers. There’s business drivers like cost savings and time to market with certain capabilities. There’s challenges on skills, there’s technical challenges, there’s a lot of different complexity that can exist in some of these systems and being able to have a lot of different approaches and its approaches to different parts of the stack.

It’s like how do I build applications? Do I do waterfall? Do I want to be more agile? How do I handle the data? Does the data all live here? Can it live in multiple places at once? And really, Rocket was really good at a lot of capabilities in helping clients to modernize things that were only and only ever on the mainframe. And then more recently we invested to be able to support more hybrid use cases, but we really didn’t help all the different cloud use cases. And Neil’s portfolio is absolutely complimentary in that it allows us to serve clients no matter which way they’re approaching modernization and that’s what makes it of such tremendous value.

Steven Dickens: So I’m going to pick out a location here. We’re at a racecourse. The way I take away what you said therefore is maybe Rocket had one horse in the race, now you’ve got multiple horses in the race. We’ve spoken before, Neil. Is that how you see it, that the combined company enables people wherever they are in that journey?

Neil Fowler: Exactly. And all this is driven by what the customer is trying to achieve. It’s no defined outcome from us as a company. It really is what’s driving them and their organization, what’s important for them to be successful. And the beauty of the combined companies is it helps us. We’ve always had a message which is meets them wherever they are in that journey and it is a continuous modernization journey as well. But we’ve got such a broadened portfolio of products, technologies, skills, and we can continue to innovate in this space to really be that trusted partner for them as they go through that modernization journey.

Steven Dickens: It’s interesting there you say one thing, I think there’s a perception that modernize means modernize once, whether modernize to a new platform, whether modernize the application. I don’t see it that way. I know you guys don’t. Thinking about it from an evergreen perspective, maybe Phil, just give me your thoughts there around where people should be on that sort of continual journey to modernize.

Phil Buckellew: Well, Rocket, we’ve been around for 30 years and the company was started on the basis of helping modernize, modernize data access for the mainframe. That was some of the first products.

Steven Dickens: You’ve been at it a while.

Phil Buckellew: Yeah, and in fact the Micro Focus team’s been around for even longer than that. And it’s always about helping clients address their challenges. And challenges don’t stop. What today is the most modern cutting-edge technology, tomorrow will be something else that needs to be modernized. So continuing to have that mindset and having that approach, but focusing on doing it in a way that’s not disruptive. That’s really the critical piece, because so many in this industry, and I know Neil, you’ve seen so many customers that have tried the Big Bang approach or the Rewrite approach and that’s not always successful. And there’s a lot of other ways to modernize, but not have the disruption that can go with it.

Steven Dickens: I think your tagline and modernize without disruption is crucial. I mean, again, marketing tagline, but it’s crucial so that a lot of people have maybe put a fat foot on this path and had some false starts with projects that have not been successful. We’ve all heard the horror stories. How do you see that ever growing journey?

Neil Fowler: Well, the thing is, one of the pieces that recognizing that customers have is their core asset are their applications and their data. So building what you have and actually just doing that increment… This is the reason why it’s a continuous journey because you only have to modernize what makes sense for you at that time. It’s lower risk, much to reduce cost and you can get there quickly, but that means you’re meeting the needs of what you have today, but that might be different in three years time. So that continual journey that they have to evaluate and work out what’s best for them, but always reusing what they have in their core business assets, their applications, their logic, all of their data, that’s always been running the core of their business for the last few decades. Using that as the heart and incrementally moving through is a key thing which they can get massive benefits from.

Steven Dickens: So I could spend all day chatting to you guys. There’s so much in this acquisition, so much for clients, so much for your partners. I’m going to come to you first, Phil, so you maybe get the advantage of going first, maybe you get the disadvantage. What would be the three takeaways as people start to think of this strategically going forward for the AMCA team joining Rocket?

Phil Buckellew: Well, I think that clients need to think of Rocket as their partner first. And because we have the breadth, because we really can meet our clients wherever they are in their modernization journey, we’re a good partner now. We don’t do it all ourselves. We have lots of different partners in the ecosystem when we work with the context of partnerships that our clients have. But now with Rocket plus AMC, we have the breadth, we have the skills. There’s a tremendous amount of skill depth that’s coming from the AMC team and we’re so happy to be having those join Rocket that we really think we’re going to be able to help our clients to get that transformation, to get those business advantages that they know they need. And that’s the kind of modernization that really gets us fired up.

Steven Dickens: And then, Neil, the key takeaways from you?

Neil Fowler: Well, I think just to expand on what Phil said there, I mean, that’s a really key part of it, but when you look at the combined organization in terms of, as you said, from the skills and the technology, it really just means that we are set up for all of those and help our customers set up for all their future journeys so we can be seen as that modernization partner, not just now, but for the next decade as well.

Steven Dickens: So guys, always great to get you on camera. Fantastic moment for Rocket and your growth. Really a pleasure to have you on the show.

Phil Buckellew: Great, thanks Steven.

Steven Dickens: So you’ve been joining us here live from Newbury Racecourse where I’ve been talking to Phil and Neil from what is now Rocket Software’s expanded portfolio. Please click and subscribe and do all those things to help the algorithm as we grow the show. And I’ll catch you next time. Thank you very much for watching.

Author Information

Regarded as a luminary at the intersection of technology and business transformation, Steven Dickens is the Vice President and Practice Leader for Hybrid Cloud, Infrastructure, and Operations at The Futurum Group. With a distinguished track record as a Forbes contributor and a ranking among the Top 10 Analysts by ARInsights, Steven's unique vantage point enables him to chart the nexus between emergent technologies and disruptive innovation, offering unparalleled insights for global enterprises.

Steven's expertise spans a broad spectrum of technologies that drive modern enterprises. Notable among these are open source, hybrid cloud, mission-critical infrastructure, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and FinTech innovation. His work is foundational in aligning the strategic imperatives of C-suite executives with the practical needs of end users and technology practitioners, serving as a catalyst for optimizing the return on technology investments.

Over the years, Steven has been an integral part of industry behemoths including Broadcom, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and IBM. His exceptional ability to pioneer multi-hundred-million-dollar products and to lead global sales teams with revenues in the same echelon has consistently demonstrated his capability for high-impact leadership.

Steven serves as a thought leader in various technology consortiums. He was a founding board member and former Chairperson of the Open Mainframe Project, under the aegis of the Linux Foundation. His role as a Board Advisor continues to shape the advocacy for open source implementations of mainframe technologies.


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