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Updated by Charles Bystock on 03/22/2016

mainframe outsourcing

As the age of retirement approaches for the mainframe workforce, an entire knowledge-base is at risk of being lost forever. There are many companies, such as financial institutions, insurance carriers and telecommunications corporations, that rely on mainframes, but most of the people who have the knowledge and skills to keep them operating are on the verge of leaving the workforce.

Younger IT professionals either don’t want to learn about mainframe engineering or aren’t given the opportunity. The solution that many enterprises are turning to is mainframe outsourcing, which is becoming more and more popular as an increasing number of organizations no longer have the human resources on staff to operate and maintain their own mainframes.

Different Options for Mainframe Outsourcing

With the retirement of mainframe engineers, fewer employees coming up through the IT ranks have the knowledge and skillset required to keep legacy systems running, which is why the aging workforce and mainframe outsourcing are becoming so closely linked. But there are several options for mainframe outsourcing available in today’s marketplace, and enterprises must be able to determine what model would best suit their needs. The principal types of mainframe outsourcing include:

  • Remote mainframe management, which is often the first step toward total mainframe outsourcing. In this model, the company maintains possession of the mainframe’s hardware and software but allows an outside vendor to manage the operation of the mainframe from a remote location.

  • On-site mainframe management, which is similar to remote management in that the company maintains possession of the system, but the vendor provides technical and operational services on-site at the customer’s place of business.

  • Traditional outsourcing, where a company transfers all of the hardware and storage to an outside vendor, who takes over the management and operation of the system.

What Are the Benefits of Mainframe Outsourcing?

One of the major advantages of mainframe outsourcing is that it allows you to continue operations as usual without having to replace retiring employees who are in possession of vital knowledge that’s known to few. If your workforce no longer has the capacity and skills to maintain your mainframe, you're better off passing that responsibility off to an external vendor that can do it on your behalf.

On top of that, outsourcing can also help you reduce costs. Instead of incurring the expense to run your own mainframe system, you can eliminate the capital expenditure that comes with buying, housing, and maintaining the hardware. You won’t have to worry about the labor costs involved, and you'll be free of the endless task of having to keep your hardware and software updated. And once you outsource your mainframe needs, you'll have more time and people power to refocus on other critical areas of your evolving company.  

Mainframe outsourcing is a modern answer to the problem posed by an aging workforce because those retiring employees are among the few engineers with the knowledge and skills to operate and maintain your company’s system. There are several types of mainframe outsourcing opportunities available to suit the unique needs of your enterprise if you're starting to feel the effects of the aging workforce.