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The Case For Mainframe Outsourcing: 5 Factors To Consider

Dec 18, 2012 6:00:00 AM

by Ken Cameron

mainframe outsourcing 5 factors to considerAccording to The Outsourcing Institute, there are many reasons companies choose outsourcing. But let’s face it. When it comes to IT infrastructure, especially your Mainframe system, you’re responsible for improving and expanding service levels and quality while concurrently reducing operations expenses.

So let’s consider five factors that relate directly to your company’s current situation as you contemplate Mainframe outsourcing.

1. The big picture.

Any major, transformational decision such as switching to Mainframe outsourcing requires alignment with your company’s strategic vision, long-term goals and shorter-term objectives. You can’t afford to veer off course when there’s so much at stake. And your core business cannot thrive without the latest and best technology foundation.

You have to smoothly and cost-effectively meet your goals and implementation timelines. You have to smoothly and cost-effectively maintain existing service levels and quality. Do you have the internal resources to make it happen?

2. People.

Of course it’s a benefit to gain access to world-class capabilities beyond the staff you have now, even if they’re pretty world-class themselves. Mainframe outsourcing can bring not only broader or deeper relevant expertise to replace legacy experts that may be retiring, it can free up your remaining IT personnel to focus on other activities more directly aligned with your goals and objectives.

3. Costs vs. benefits.

You have to carefully compare the transitional and long-term costs of Mainframe outsourcing against retaining internal ownership and management responsibility. The still-limp state of the global economy magnifies everything, including your sense of urgency to find efficient, cost-effective solutions and get them into place as quickly as possible.

One of outsourcing’s most appealing benefits is variable costs based on what you’re getting, rather than higher fixed costs. Scalability gives you predictability. And think of what you could do with increased cashflow now and reduced capital needs later on.

But you can’t make intelligent decisions without knowing what’s needed in the way of IT infrastructure and services to ensure you’ll be well-positioned to meet your goals.

4. C-level support.

Because Mainframe outsourcing represents a sea change, top management must fully understand the ramifications as well as the costs and benefits and be overtly behind the decision to make this change.

Your CIO can decide to jettison an internal Mainframe management effort that’s become something of an albatross and take control of costs instead. But without top support any decision to move to Mainframe outsourcing could be deflected, delayed or entirely derailed.

5. How you’ll engineer your transition.

Mainframe outsourcing offers alternatives -- a new landscape of commoditized services and potential working partnerships you’ll need to identify and understand before you can evaluate them. Then you’ll need to negotiate SLA details including contingencies, pricing structure, support, etc.

Bringing on an IT infrastructure management consultant can set the stage for finding the best Mainframe outsourcing solution. They’ll provide both financial and technical analysis geared to your specific situation and requirements, so you can comfortably achieve the flexibility, agility and security to succeed and grow profitability. And they’ll ensure you get the right contract with the right provider.

The closer you can match what you get and what you pay, the more you can lower total cost of ownership and increase your ROI.

The bottom line is that Mainframe outsourcing has the potential to transform your company in comprehensive and exciting ways, opening doors to new opportunity and saving money to direct toward those new opportunities. But only if your approach and your selection of provider are in line with your goals. You want to do the right thing, but you have to do it in the right way. 

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