Enterprise Ball: Barbie’s Birthday and COBOL’s Enduring Legacy

In my attempt to accumulate real-world statistics that highlight how enterprise software contributes directly to our economy and our society — especially in terms that non-techies and non-enterprisers can understand, I am grateful to COBOL giant Micro Focus and their PR firm for the following brilliant examples of what a little enterprise software can do for the world. In this case, the software in mind is COBOL, which, like Barbie, is celebrating its 50th birthday this year. And, as the numbers below show, not only does enterprise software still run many of the business transactions we take for granted, these unaudited numbers show how far packaged and other newer forms of enterprise software have to go to kick out a grizzled old veteran veteran of 50 years from a top spot in the Enterprise Ball playoffs.

  • ATM – COBOL handles 95% of all ATM transactions daily
  • Healthcare – COBOL cares for 60 million patients everyday
  • Business – 70% of world’s business applications run on COBOL
  • Point of Sale (POS) – COBOL is behind 80% of all POS transactions processed daily
  • Vacations – COBOL is responsible for 96,000 vacations booked each year
  • Mobility – COBOL connects 500 million mobile users everyday
  • Home – COBOL is behind 5.5 million home purchases each year
  • Retirement – 20,000 retirement plans are arranged with the help of COBOL everyday
  • Fortune 500 businesses – COBOL supports 90% of Fortune 500 business systems
  • Shipments – COBOL moves 72,000 cargo containers daily

Not bad for someone born during the Eisenhower administration. I’m sure most 50 year olds would love to still be going strong entering their second half century.

2 thoughts on “Enterprise Ball: Barbie’s Birthday and COBOL’s Enduring Legacy

  1. Josh,

    very interesting facts. Now it would be interesting whether companies with a stronger reliance on COBOL perform better than their Non-COBOL peers (in terms of profitability, or customer satisfaction etc.) My first guess would be a “yes”.
    Steffen Udolph

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