Top 6 Challenges To Replacing CMOD

What is IBM CMOD?

IBM Content Manager OnDemand or CMOD, as it is commonly known, is one of the founding fathers of modern enterprise content management systems. CMOD is an enterprise archive solution that captures and stores high volumes of documents including outbound statements and internal production reports.

CMOD originated out of IBM Printing Systems Division
1403 Printer from IBM Printing Systems

End of an Era

Originally named simply OnDemand, Content Manager OnDemand has its roots in the Printing Systems division of IBM (now part of Ricoh) and is a good indicator of its original purpose.  Although it’s still sold by IBM, in 2015, they quietly announced they were moving development and support to UNICOM.

CMOD was originally designed to capture large mainframe reports and store them for later re-print without the enormous overhead of computing power required, at that time, to create them. Over time they developed, along with the market, a variety of capabilities that are listed in a loose chronological order below:

  • Reprint some of, or all, the report with advanced bundling and bursting capabilities coming shortly behind.
  • Support advanced printers. These were mainframe printers that utilized Xerox AFP (Advanced Function Presentation), and Xerox DJDE (Dynamic Job Descriptor Entry) as their primary output formats.
  • View report data directly within the mainframe terminal, followed closely by
  • Ability to secure sections of pages within the document so users only had access to a subset of a report.
  • Desktop applications purpose built to view and print the reports as needed. 
  • Browser applications that extend report viewing functionality across distributed global organizations.

This evolution developed into the early content management system.  A group of products that includes ASG Mobius (now part of Rocket Software), SystemWare, and applicationXtender (now part of OpenText), have matured into a segment of the current ECM space that is generally classified as COLD (Computer Output to Laser Disk) or ERM (Enterprise Report Management).

At their core, these legacy ERM/COLD applications are designed to memorialize application data (originally on paper) at a point in time for later retrieval.  Now that they are deployed, mature, and tightly aligned with sometimes dozens of legacy applications, they represent an inexpensive component of that ecosystem. 

The Challenge

The need to decide what to do with CMOD becomes more relevant as the components of that legacy ecosystem are retired, migrated, and re-architected over time.  It’s not an easy decision to make.  A legacy CMOD application may contain 30 years of historical content, be connected to dozens of legacy systems, contain hundreds or even thousands of reports, with data spread across disk, tape libraries, and a variety of other near-line storage systems.  To complicate matters, the deployments generally pre-date a well-conceived records management policy. 

Application Portfolio - upper right due for retirement
ERM software among the oldest legacy applications still in use.

This all adds up to cost and complexity to replace, not to mention, that the replacement of core functionality is generally not necessary.  An entire category of tools for archival and analytics including data warehouses, data lakes, and dozens of other purpose-built tools has replaced the requirement to store point-in-time data with an electronic report.  This process requires re-architecture.

So today, we address legacy CMOD deployments more frequently and retire the core applications they supported.  The outcome of which is a large compliance wastebasket that also needs addressing.  In addition, the deployments may still have dozens of feeds from other less relevant legacy applications and may even have a handful of users.  As companies offload their IT-infrastructure from legacy applications and migrate to the cloud, we consistently see CMOD pop up as the next challenge in our customer’s application retirement program. 

The Opportunity

The good news is – there’s hope.  While the last glimmer of life for CMOD was to offer powerful search and fast retrieval of legacy content using a web client solution, the bulk of this functionality is more easily addressed with an Archive solution.

Archive solutions are purpose built to capture, store, and deliver legacy content inexpensively and efficiently.  In other words, Archive solutions provide the best value. Archiving has MVP functionality for a very low cost. It satisfies the core user requirements of archiving content until it has passed its use and/or compliance needs.

How Does Platform 3 Solutions Help

Platform 3 Solutions helps organizations archive and manage the legacy content from IBM CMOD through our unique solutions. Platform 3 addresses the two biggest impediments to migration from CMOD: 

  • Cost and complexity of migration, and
  • Cost to maintain the archive.

Through previous engagements retiring CMOD, Platform 3 Solutions has a well-thought-out approach to delivery. We manage the 6 most common challenges you face, including:

  1. Search and retrieve OnDemand content.  Sunset your CMOD applications and stop paying maintenance to IBM.  
  2. Unlike other solutions, we do not use drivers and external connections to pull data from CMOD. That tactic is not effective and is slow when pulling massive volumes of data. We can natively read line data to convert and extract it in a format of your choice.
  3. Data and formatting are stored and presented from CMOD as a document during run time. This can be a large challenge.  Platform 3 Solutions extracts the metadata and content as XML, JSON, PDF or another format of your choice.
  4. Managing multiple application groups and providing secure access to the end-user. Platform 3 Solutions can build application groups in the archive like the current access model to maintain access to the end-user.
  5. Handling report pagination stored in CMOD sourced from different Mainframe applications.  Platform 3 can capture and maintain pagination when the data is managed in the archive.
  6. Size of data and management of data bloat (data in CMOD is highly compressed).  Platform 3 scales and manages large volume extraction without additional installation or increasing the capacity of the source servers.  We do this by natively connecting and extracting data. We scale our extraction by adding additional computing – as needed – to satisfy tight timelines.

Call to Action

Platform 3 Solutions’ in-house capability to archive CMOD system with our tools provides seamless extract and archive of Legacy CMOD platforms.  Platform 3 does not need to load a new application/code to run in your environment. The Helix solution, for example, requires MARS software application/servers to be loaded on Windows. We provide tools to convert line data into pdf/text reports.  This helps end-user navigating and printing across document sections and pages.

In short, a post-archival user will have user-experience, access restrictions and functionality similar to CMOD Content Navigator. Platform 3 provides advance compliance related features for retention, purge and hold requirements.

Customer Use Case

A leading bank in Asia has been using CMOD for many years. They recently went through a merger / acquisition with another bank in the same region. The bank had accumulated over 5 TB of data through day-to-day activities, sourcing multiple core banking applications and processes hosted on Mainframe systems such as spool files and hundreds of reports. In the process, they created application groups covering different banking functions like Core Deposit, Core Loan, General Ledger, ATM transactions, Credit Card, etc. They needed a unified reporting function to archive CMOD data, get rid of redundant systems, and reduce license and maintenance costs.

Platform 3 Solutions solved the main challenges of a cost-effective migration with an economical go-forward solution that extracted the source report content, matched it to the index values (Metadata), delivered that content into an archival system, validated the data, and built a new search UI for business users.


CMOD and other CMS systems that IBM is pulling out of support  

IBM quietly announces sale of CMOD to UNICOM:

Reference to CMOD Wiki here History of Content Manager OnDemand

Let’s talk about how Platform 3 Solutions can work for you