Cobol Market Three Times Larger Than Thought
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Monday, 21 February 2022

A new global survey commissioned by Micro Focus has found that organizations are still hanging on to their COBOL code, and that the COBOL application footprint is in fact growing rather than shrinking.

The researchers asked architects, software engineers, developers, development managers, and IT executives from 49 countries who have some work-related use of COBOL questions about how much COBOL application code is in use at their organization, along with questions about future plans. The results revealed that the majority of respondents intend to modernize their COBOL applications and support the cloud by the end of the year.

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Among other things, 92 percent of the respondents reported that they view COBOL as strategic. More surprisingly, the amount of COBOL code in daily use has increased significantly to 775-850 billion lines. Cynics might say that this is because it's hard to write Hello World in under 200 lines of COBOL, but the fact remains that increasing amounts in use implies organizations are still using it rather than binning it.

The key findings of survey start with the fact that more than 800 Billion lines of code running on production systems and in daily use, far exceeding any previous estimates - previously reported market estimates have been in the 200-300 billion range.

Nearly half of the survey’s respondents expect the amount of COBOL in use at their organization to increase in the next 12 months. This echoes the finding from last year's report that over half of the respondents expect to keep using their COBOL applications for at least the next decade, with more than four in five expecting that COBOL will still be in use when the current developers retire.

92 percent of respondents described their organizations’ COBOL applications as "strategic", driving the need for the applications to be modernized rather than mothballed. 64 percent of respondents intend to modernize their COBOL applications and 72 percent of respondents see modernization as an overall business strategy.

The aspect that seems most weird for those of us who back in the day struggled to get COBOL to print currency symbols, much less anything more graphical, is that the cloud is aspect driving most application modernization: 43 percent of the survey’s respondents said that their COBOL applications either do or will support cloud by the end of the year.

The survey was commissioned by Micro Focus, who are specialists in COBOL, and who recently announced that they are a key partner in the AWS Mainframe Modernization service.

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More Information

Global Survey Shows Tremendous Market Opportunity for COBOL Application Modernization

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Last Updated ( Monday, 21 February 2022 )