Detroit-based Compuware Corp. (Nasdaq: CPWR) Monday announced a new, modernized open development environment for managing mainframe application development.

Compuware says the new approach gives customers the ability to increase productivity, reduce costs and address challenges brought about by the retiring mainframe work force.

The new Compuware Workbench provides an Eclipse-based graphical user interface, a common framework and single-launch point to initiate Compuware’s mainframe products with the capability to launch other mainframe and distributed products.

Compuware says its workbench helps organizations get the most from limited funding by increasing the output of an existing work force. The company says the inherent productivity gains realized when using a GUI environment coupled with the tighter product integration offered in the new Compuware Workbench significantly minimizes the time it takes to complete individual tasks, increasing IT’s overall efficiency.

“IT organizations are constantly faced with two challenges — delivering on their commitments to the business while, at the same time, holding down costs,” said Rose Rowe, vice president for mainframe strategy at Compuware. “By increasing productivity, IT organizations can address both of these demands. They can deliver revenue-generating projects on time and meet their service level agreements without having to add headcount.”

Added Gartner Inc. analyst Dale Vecchio: “Workers who chose IT as a profession during the past 20 years have completely different sets of skills, and use different languages and application architectures. Consequently, the pending retirement of the baby boomer generation will have a significant impact on continuing to operate many of the legacy systems that focus on running the business.”

As the baby boomer generation looks ahead to retirement, IT organizations face the recruiting and training of potential new programmers. The next generation of programmers, who grew up with digital technologies, have not had experience with the traditional “green screen” interface. This means that these new programmers would not only have to be trained to understand the applications they will support, but would also be faced with having to learn to support these applications in an outdated character-based development environment. Providing them with this modernized, point-and-click option significantly reduces the time associated with what would otherwise be a costly learning curve.

Compuware continues to enable and support the needs of IT’s more experienced developers by offering the choice of either a green screen or GUI environment, giving them the option of using whichever platform best suits their individual needs.

The initial release of the Compuware Workbench is scheduled for August of this year. More at

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