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5 Mainframe Outsourcing Trends You Should Know About

Jan 29, 2013 6:00:00 AM

by Charles Bystock

5 Mainframe Outsourcing TrendsMainframe outsourcing isn’t new. Pioneering companies moved in this direction years ago, but many more are now seriously considering the potential benefits. Here are five mainframe outsourcing trends that may affect your thinking:

1. Mainframe outsourcing is on the rise again.

Former security concerns are no longer seen as a drawback, thanks to significant advances in encryption and other security measures. There is a universally higher  comfort level with cloud computing and other virtual working environments, especially since individuals have widely adopted the cloud for personal use, too.

Top corporate executives are seeing direct benefits from outsourcing important but non-mission-critical functions. Mainframe outsourcing can help reduce operations costs without losing control. It can help improve performance and functionality with expanded services. And it offers important risk mitigation benefits that strengthen confidence in your disaster recovery capability.

2. Selective outsourcing.

Customization is becoming the new normal, so naturally mainframe outsourcing reflects that same trend. Since each company is unique, IT solutions must be uniquely-designed to match your current situation and goals.

Selective outsourcing provides greater choice. You can take advantage of leading-edge technology where you most need it to modernize operations without making wholesale changes for which you aren’t ready. Hybrid systems enable you to retain internal control yet enjoy outsourcing’s most popular benefits.

3. Reducing costs is Job #1.

Companies – especially large and complex global enterprises or those with multiple stateside locations – are re-evaluating how they deliver IT-based services and support throughout their operations.

Narrower-than-ever margins and tougher-than-ever competition give new criticality to the bottom line, requiring savings on ongoing operations expenses but also recapture of capital funds that can be redirected. Meanwhile, internal and external end-users are savvier and more demanding when it comes to IT services. Your fundamental need to reduce costs cannot be achieved at the expense of service levels or quality.

It’s like walking a tightrope. But because mainframe outsourcing can contribute mightily to cost reductions, it’s increasingly seen as a valuable approach to achieving company goals while squeezing maximum value from every dollar invested.

4. The generation gap.

Old mainframe systems and emerging technologies don’t understand one another. Legacy systems that have been in place for years and have served your company well may be aging out – not unlike many of your key IT staffers who are intimately familiar with those legacy systems.

And speaking of personnel, even if your legacy systems aren’t ready for the pasture, it’s becoming frustratingly difficult to find a new crop of systems programmers and operators  who possess required levels of skill and proficiency to work within your current system.

5. Flexible pricing models.

Even within the realm of pricing, it’s now all about choice.

You can follow the typical outsourcing format of paying for what you use, which provides scalability and flexibility and -- perhaps most important from a financial standpoint -- predictability. Or you can choose a fixed plan, in which you pay the same flat rate each month and then pay extra for additional services provided. On the surface this option offers the ultimate in predictability, but in reality you can sometimes pay dearly for overage fees.

Or you could investigate newer consulting-based pricing options.

In the end, selecting the right pricing model and details requires the same level of attention as selecting the right mainframe outsourcing provider and SLAs. With the right choices, your company can make a comfortable transition and be well-situated for whatever comes next.

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