O’Flynn: Similarly, the demand for high quality of service (QoS) levels continues unabated. While the mainframe’s QoS remains at historically high levels, the demand for QoS now extends to compound workloads that cross mainframe and distributed environments and leave IT needing to meet new end-user experience performance expectations.

The mainframe should no longer be viewed as just a cost center to the business that needs to be closely monitored, but rather as an integral part of the application delivery chain as well as a revenue generator—and must be managed as such.

Enterprise Executive: So what’s a maturity model?

Radding: Maturity models help organizations improve processes amid change. The new Enterprise IT Performance Maturity Model can help IT organizations improve processes for managing application performance and mainframe costs as distributed and mainframe systems converge.

What you want in such a maturity model is something that recognizes the skills and culture gap and helps close it. It also incorporates new mainframe roles and workloads alongside open systems, cloud and mobile, while encompassing new tooling to address management and operations in this new environment.

Enterprise Executive: How is maturity broken down in this model?

Radding: The new model defines five levels of maturity and incorporates distributed systems alongside the mainframe and recognizes the new workloads, processes and challenges that will be encountered. At each level, it identifies five maturity categories. There’s application technology, mainframe attributes, culture, performance technology and, finally, process.

Meanwhile, there are five maturity levels, ranging from ad hoc—in which the mainframe runs core systems and applications, or the traditional mainframe workloads, with a green-screen approach to mainframe computing—all the way to business revenue-centric, meaning that business needs and end-user experience are addressed through interoperability with cloud and mobile systems and real-time analytics to support revenue initiatives.

Enterprise Executive: And where do most organizations fall in the model?

O’Flynn: Most IT organizations will likely find themselves straddling different maturity levels for the various categories. For example, although many have achieved levels 4 and 5 of application technology, culture and processes remain at levels 1 or 2. These disconnects mean IT still faces many obstacles and isn’t reaching optimal levels of service delivery and cost management. And this doesn’t just impact IT. There can be business ramifications, such as decreased customer satisfaction and slower revenue growth.

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