The decision to go with mainframe outsourcing is a large one, and, ultimately beneficial to a company from both a cost effectiveness and efficiency standpoint. But these benefits will only come with good understanding and proper planning for the migration of services. Mainframe outsourcing is a large, substantial change to the workflow of any company’s IT department. In order for it to be successful, there are a few steps that should be taken in anticipation of the transition and you should consult closely with IT sourcing advisors to make the most of this opportunity.
Plan Your Needs
Regardless of the venture, good execution is the result of good planning, and mainframe outsourcing is no different in this regard. It’s not enough to simply decide to outsource, a good CIO and technical team will evaluate what needs to be outsourced, and will put together a formal guide for the exact requirements and benefits they are looking for from outsourcing.
There will be many bidders, and, unfortunately, there may even be some corporate politics that enter the equation in terms of selecting a final service provider, but a clear plan for what needs to be done can help arrive at a suitable choice. Check with IT sourcing advisors regularly during this phase.
Consider Your Transition Options
Depending on the route you take, and how important your operations are, you may experience either very little or no downtime at all when shifting operations over to an outsourced mainframe. This depends entirely on your own choices and your willingness to pay certain costs.
If, for example, your company absolutely cannot afford any downtime in operations, there are mirroring strategies and high availability options that can be used, but they come at extra cost. On the other hand, if you feel that an interruption in operations is tolerable provided that it’s not overly long, careful planning with your vendor and transparency between IT staff, so they know what’s going on, can make the transition much smoother with less uncertainty and frustration for everyone involved.
Check Your Results
Trust is important in any business relationship, but it must be earned. Look over billing; compare the level of service you are receiving with metrics for what was promised. Look into the software products that are being offered and ensure that they are being regularly updated. Examine the hardware that is being used, make sure it is being maintained, and check to see if the mainframe is dedicated to you and, if not, find out what other companies are also being served on the hardware to ensure no conflict of interest exists.
Like any endeavor that is complex and uses a lot of equipment and staff, understanding the process is critical to success. Mainframe outsourcing can bring real cost benefits and even free up IT staff to work on other things rather than maintaining your own infrastructure, but this only happens with the right approach, and right choices. IT sourcing advisors are a valuable resource during this period.