Sunday, 4 November 2012

What’s really going on?

One of the problems with being a mainframer these days is finding out what’s going on at other sites and being able to compare your experiences with other people’s. There used to be rooms full of mainframe staff, and regular turnover meant that new ideas were easily examined. Apart from Google, nowadays you can keep in the loop by joining a user group (like the Virtual IMS and Virtual CICS user groups that don’t require you to be out of the office to attend meetings), going to conferences (you’ve just missed IOD, but Guide Share Europe takes place next week), or you can read survey results.

Or there’s survey results. And as we’re coming to the end of another year, surveys seem to be happening more frequently.

BMC Software recently published a survey from their AsiaPacific area. They found there was a growth in processor engines, which was driven by transaction processing requirements. And driving that is users wanting to have data available to them at any time and anywhere – particularly users with mobile devices. BMC also found that some of the growth could be attributed to legacy application development and some to newer applications where the mainframe provides the back-end delivery of that application.

Respondents liked mainframes for security and data integrity reasons, as well as its centralized manageability. One result that won’t surprise anyone who’s investigated the option was that the cost of moving away from the mainframe is very high!

CA Technologies has published a survey of 800 IT and business leaders. They found that IT and business leaders often have two different views on innovation, with IT respondents suggesting that they are more likely to position themselves as driving innovation, being an expert on innovation, and having the required skills to foster innovation. Business executives identified IT’s shortcomings in regard to its ability to support and drive innovation and gave themselves credit for innovation.

With results that could have been published any time up to the 1990s, the survey found large gaps can be found in rating IT’s knowledge of the business, IT’s business and communications skills, and overall speed and agility. I thought this division had healed over many years ago, but maybe the pendulum is swinging back the other way? Perhaps the paucity of IT staff makes it harder for them to get to meetings and interact with other execs? Or maybe the CIO (Chief Information Officer) is disappearing from organizations and IT is being relegated into a silo all over again?

Not surprisingly, the survey found common frustrations such as organizations’ lack of agility, and budget and staff resource shortages. Interestingly, new IT initiatives include mobile and business intelligence/analytics. Organizations reporting high levels of innovation are also planning investments in cloud, security management, business analytics, service management, and virtualization.

If you want to have your say about what’s happening at your site, the Arcati Mainframe Yearbook is conducting a user survey now. You can find the survey at

If you’re interested in the Virtual IMS or CICS user groups, you can find them at and respectively. More information about the GSE conference is at

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