The mainframe is becoming more important to large enterprises, with the percentage of organizations running at least half their business-critical applications on that platform expected to increase next year. However, the loss of skilled mainframe staff, and the failure to subsequently fill these positions, pose significant threats to application quality, velocity and efficiency.
These are among the findings of research and analysis conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Compuware. According to the study, “As mainframe workload increases—driven by modern analytics, blockchain and more mobile activity hitting the platform—customer-obsessed companies should seek to modernize application delivery and remove roadblocks to innovation.”
The survey of mainframe decision-makers and developers in the U.S. and Europe also revealed:
Growing mainframe importance
- 64 percent of enterprises surveyed will run more than half of their critical applications on the platform within the next year, up from 57 percent this year.
- 72 percent of customer-facing applications at these enterprises are completely or very reliant on mainframe processing.
Loss of essential mainframe staff
- Enterprises have lost an average 23 percent of specialized mainframe staff in the last five years.
- 63 percent of those positions have not been filled.
Failure to prioritize velocity and efficiency
- While 55 percent of respondents cite application quality as “extremely important,” only 42 percent put the same emphasis on development velocity and 46 percent on efficiency.
Failure to measure critical KPIs
- While firms recognize the importance of quality, velocity and efficiency, significant percentages are not measuring them (Quality: 27 percent, Velocity: 38 percent, and Efficiency: 39 percent).
Customer experience disconnect
- 59 percent say that improvements in quality, velocity and efficiency mean a better customer experience; yet only 31 percent see this focus actually decreasing customer-discovered defects.
These findings and others suggest that mainframe investments, culture and management practices need to evolve significantly in light of changing market realities. Insufficient emphasis on velocity, for example, is a holdover from an earlier era that predates the demands of today’s fast-paced digital economy. Inadequate attention to efficiency likewise reflects an era when the mainframe development and quality assurance staffs were significantly larger and extraordinarily stable.
According to the Forrester study, “Mainframe is alive and growing at the heart of many businesses. IT decision makers cannot afford to treat their mainframe applications as static environments bound by long release cycles, nor can they fail to respond to their critical dependence on a retiring workforce. Instead, firms must implement the modern tools necessary to accelerate not only the quality, but the speed and efficiency, of their mainframe, as well as draw skilled people to work on the platform.”
The complete Forrester Opportunity Snapshot study, entitled “Modern Mainframe KPIs Are Key To A Successful Digital Strategy,” can be found here.
“Many enterprise CIOs are clearly facing a do-or-die moment when it comes to the mainframe,” said Chris O’Malley, CEO of Compuware. “They must quickly re-think, re-design and re-tool their approach to mainframe DevOps or face a future where they are simply too slow and inflexible to keep pace with their more nimble competitors.”
Compuware empowers the world’s largest companies to excel in the digital economy by fully leveraging their high-value mainframe investments. We do this by delivering highly innovative solutions that uniquely enable IT professionals with mainstream skills to manage mainframe applications, data, and platform operations. Learn more at compuware.com.