We anticipate continued growth in this area as the following takes place:

  • The business imperative for cross-enterprise solutions with greater time to market drives demand for application modernization, software-delivery automation and enterprise DevOps transformation.
  • The ability to optimize operational costs becomes a competitive differentiator for businesses.
  • The need to train a new generation of developers and engineers demands a cloud-like user experience that allows users to employ their preferred tools from their desktop or mobile device.
  • Buyers increasingly want flexibility and transparency, such as they’re familiar with in open systems.

Put simply, business agility remains the critical factor in employing the mainframe to shape next-generation business applications.

Prediction #3: Mainframe Becomes the Hub for Automated Intelligent Systems

Gaps and inefficiencies in IT operations continued to plague businesses in 2017, with enterprises losing an average of $21.8 million per year in downtime and with the average cost of downtime ranging from $140,000 per hour to a whopping $2.5 million per hour.

Even though the mainframe remains reliable, companies are still looking to increase efficiencies across their skills and to boost speed. That’s why our prediction has proven correct, and we’re finding that augmented intelligent automation is delivering on a vision of a self-driving data center: in production, not just in theory. “Algorithmic IT operations (AIOps) platforms,” a term coined by Gartner, are giving businesses the following:

  • Abnormal pattern detection to predict problems earlier
  • Faster problem isolation with insights from multiple data sources
  • Pattern recognition to trigger automated remediation of “known” issues
  • Operational feedback to guide the next best action.

Early adopters of intelligent automation are achieving financial benefits while also delivering a more seamless customer experience. For example, customers are using mainframe operational intelligence to achieve 5x improvements in resolution time and mean time to resolution (MTTR).

Surprise Prediction: Blockchain Will Cause a Resurgence of Mainframe Interest

Our final prediction in 2017 addressed the anticipated ramifications of blockchain technology on the mainframe. And it did come true. Blockchain investment has caused a mainframe growth and innovation to resurge as enterprises seek to implement digital trust at speed and scale. Blockchain-driven applications will soon be one of the largest users of capacity from the 60+ data centers that IBM rents globally, and one-third of banks, retailers and health-care institutions are expected to use blockchain by 2021. Many companies are evidently taking that route, as IBM recently announced that IBM Z revenue is up 71 percent year over year and that it has shipped the most mips in history—and these results are just for the first full quarter since the launch of the Z14, with its pervasive encryption capabilities.

Buy why mainframe? You might already know that mainframes contain 71 percent of corporate data. You can probably guess the rest. Scalability is what makes the mainframe a major platform destination. Currently, blockchain implementations function at 5–10 transactions per second; the goal is to enable more than 1,000. A good solution is to build blockchain technology on the foundational support of the mainframe.

These benefits are large and transformational. For example, HSBC, a member of the Digital Trade Chain consortium, is testing a large blockchain as part of its initiative to restructure its cost base by digitizing everything and eliminating paper. The goal is to reduce trade costs by up to $2 trillion by providing a transparent information-sharing mechanism via blockchain.

2018 and Beyond

So, we weren’t too far off. The question is, where do you want the mainframe to take your enterprise in 2018 and beyond?

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