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What are the Most Recent Mainframe Outsourcing Trends?

Dec 24, 2013 6:00:00 AM

by Charles Bystock

mainframe outsourcing (5)It’s not your father’s mainframe any more.

Mainframe outsourcing may have initially gained acceptance in response to an imperative to reduce costs, but companies have learned there are other strategic advantages, too. Large global enterprises now recognize mainframe outsourcing as a means to future-proof their operations, growing their business without losing sight of their legacy – the fundamental ability to assure readily-available, reliable, secure services to internal and external customers.

Thriving in the future will require unprecedented flexibility and agility.

Your enterprise will have to surf the ups and downs of domestic or worldwide economic waves, while deftly negotiating the cross-currents of expanding customer and employee expectations. Your surfboard? Emerging technologies.

For a significant majority of the world’s largest companies, mainframes remain the foundation of long-term IT strategy. Especially for financial services, healthcare, e-commerce, telecommunications and similar industries, the dual challenges of growing transaction volumes and diversity of new access devices and applications mean complexity will continue to increase.

Tracking mainframe outsourcing trends is crucial, whether you’re already outsourcing or still determining if it’s right for you. So consider these facts:

  • The skills gap will continue to widen.

  • While cost reductions are always in order, cost optimization is taking precedence as a more effective approach.

  • Mainframes are being asked to do more, handling not just more data but a broader scope of work.

  • It makes little sense to keep adding physical facilities and all their attendant costs when the work can be accomplished via some variation of outsourcing. Eliminating facilities sprawl can be achieved through co-location, leased mainframe space, or other options to consolidate or virtualize.

  • Energy-efficiency and sustainability are moving from nice to necessity. Since mainframes use less power and produce fewer emissions than an equivalent powerhouse of distributed servers, they help reduce energy costs and meet environmental regulations. You can do more, with less energy.

  • IBM will continue to make innovation a priority, creating a new generation of mainframe platforms designed to interface more adeptly with new applications.

  • Hybrid configurations and collaborative approaches are driving mainframe outsourcing solutions. Transformation has left the all-or-none, one-size-fits-all model behind, and now it’s all about customization -- your organization’s strategic objectives, geographic, cultural and other unique issues. Providers are becoming working partners, not just a service dispensary.

  • Pricing models reflect the same quest for tailored solutions, designed to strengthen outcomes by addressing both enterprise and provider goals.

Challenges will remain.

You have to modernize mainframe applications. The trend is toward greater availability and converting mainframes into a centralized hub for data warehousing and access. Maintaining data privacy and securing access points are critical, meaning governance policies and procedures must be up to date and clear, especially if you’re outsourcing.

Modernization includes better management of:

  • Capacity – ameliorating the impacts of growth, whether sudden and severe fluctuations in data volumes or slow and steady corporate expansion.

  • MIPS -- automating efforts to identify and correct inefficiencies that drive up consumption and costs.

  • Performance -- ensuring availability keeps pace with need.

  • Storage – getting out of the data warehousing business.

  • Disaster recovery – introducing remote solutions that are better-equipped to guarantee continuity in the face of increasingly complicated business scenarios. You have to respond quickly to small problems, so they don’t escalate, as well as widespread failures that could cause major disruption.

Trends give us a glimpse into the future.

“Do more with less” is becoming the underlying tenet of your entire IT operation, not just the financial aspects. Mainframe outsourcing can help future-proof your enterprise, actually increasing availability and reliability while lowering risks to data and functionality. You can work from an IT foundation that’s both stable and flexible. Just what you need to remain agile in the face of opportunity and productive in the face of adversity.

You’ll be standing tall among the competition, smoothly surfing the next wave, whatever its size or direction.


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