No Respect: Survey Shows Lack of Awareness, Appreciation for COBOL
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Despite major impact over 50 years, Americans don`t know what COBOL is MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--(Business Wire)-- According to survey results announced today by Micro Focus (LSE.MCRO.L), the leading provider of enterprise application management and modernization solutions, the average American relies on the programming language COBOL at least 13 times per day for routine activities such as placing phone calls, using a credit or debit card, and commuting to and from work. Despite their reliance on this ubiquitous language, which turns 50 years old today, only one in four survey respondents (23 percent) have heard of COBOL or know what it is. The survey, commissioned by Micro Focus and conducted by Harris Interactive, found that respondents use their cell phones, ATM and credit cards, or travel by train on average 90 times per week. COBOL is the programming language that all of these daily transactions are originally based on, yet 77 percent of the survey respondents had never heard of the programming language that is essential for many of their day-to-day activities. "COBOL is one American icon that has truly stood the test of time, and we believe that it will be around for another 50 years running the core transactions that we all rely on to go about our daily lives," said Ken Powell, President, North American Operations at Micro Focus. "To understand COBOL`s impact, you need only to imagine a day without it. It would impact every aspect of our lives - from traffic signals, cash registers and cell phones to online travel reservations. Put simply, we`d struggle to function without COBOL." According to analyst estimates, 60-80 percent of the world`s enterprises still rely on COBOL to run their business. There are over 200 billion lines of COBOL currently in operation globally across every industry, and the language supports over 30 billion transactions per day - many of which impact our lives every day. "At Micro Focus, we see first-hand every day the benefits and the staying power of this classic programming language as we help our customers maximize their investment in COBOL by modernizing core business applications," continued Powell. According to the survey, men are more than twice as likely to know about COBOL, with 33 percent of male respondents versus just 14 percent of female respondents aware of COBOL`s existence. Among age demographics, middle-aged respondents aged 45-54 were most likely to know about COBOL (29 percent), as opposed to younger generations. Of the respondents aged 18-34, only 15 percent knew what COBOL was. Micro Focus today also announced similar results for a UK-based survey administered by YouGov Plc., which found that adults in the UK interact with COBOL 10 times per day, while only 18 percent of respondents had ever heard of COBOL. Alan Rodger, Senior Research Analyst at Butler Group (a Datamonitor company) compares COBOL`s heritage with that of the internal combustion engine, "COBOL can be thought of as IT`s equivalent to the ubiquitous power source of automobiles - both technologies enabled the human population to benefit in many ways from new possibilities'. He continued, "COBOL has been the prevalent language for developing business applications throughout the greater part of five decades. Systems and applications written in COBOL remain in widespread use within the vertical sectors that spend some of the world`s largest IT budgets - such as Finance, Government, Manufacturing, and Telecoms - as well as numerous others." Today is the 50th anniversary of the first meeting at the US Pentagon of the committee that would develop the COBOL language. In the 50 years since its creation on May 28, 1959, COBOL, which stands for Common Business-Oriented Language, has gone on to become the preeminent programming language for businesses. To commemorate the historic 50th birthday for COBOL, Micro Focus has launched a social media hub for COBOL users around the world to share how they are celebrating this milestone. The site features videos, photos and fun COBOL facts, helping users tap into the global community of COBOL developers who use the language every day. For more information, you can reach the site at http://www.cobol.com. Survey Methodology This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive® via its QuickQuerySM online omnibus service on behalf of Micro Focus between May 1-5, 2009 among a nationwide sample of 2,397 U.S. adults aged 18 and over. Data were weighted using propensity score weighting to be representative of the total U.S. adult population on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, race/ethnicity, and propensity to be online. About Micro Focus Micro Focus, a member of the FTSE 250, provides innovative software that allows companies to dramatically improve the business value of their enterprise applications. Micro Focus Enterprise Application Modernization and Management software enables customers` business applications to respond rapidly to market changes and embrace modern architectures with reduced cost and risk. For additional information please visit www.microfocus.com. Facts about COBOL (Source: Datamonitor (November 2008),`COBOL - continuing to drive value in the 21st Century`) * Around 200 billion lines of COBOL code are in live operation * 75% of the world`s business data is processed in COBOL * 90% of global financial transactions are processed in COBOL * There are 1.5 - 2 million developers, globally, working with COBOL code * Around 5 billion lines of new COBOL code are added to live systems every year LEWIS PR Dan Gaffney, 617-226-8840 firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright Business Wire 2009
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