Priorities and technologies defining the mainframe in the digital enterprise

According to a BMC survey, there is overwhelming support for mainframe integration, new strategic priorities and a resurgence of next-generation mainframe talent.

The study surveyed more than 1,000 executives and practitioners about their priorities, challenges and growth opportunities for the platform. High level information includes:

  • 90% of respondents view the mainframe as a platform for long-term growth and applications.
  • 68% expect MIPS, the measure of mainframe computing performance, to increase.
  • 63% of respondents say security and compliance were their top priorities for the mainframe.
  • More than half of respondents increased the mainframe platform’s data and transaction volume by 25% or more, signaling its continued importance in the digital business environment.

“The Mainframe survey confirms that enterprises view the mainframe as a critical part of the modern digital enterprise and an emerging hub for innovation,” says Stephane Elliotprogram vice president, management software and DevOps, IDC.

“They are increasingly using it to meet digital business demands as they strive to achieve greater agility and success across the enterprise.”

Top Mainframe Priorities

As mainframe companies compete to bring new digital experiences to market to delight customers, the themes of the survey are extremely strong: adapt, automate and secure.

Adapt – the responses indicate that companies’ need to adapt extends to several areas:

  • New processes to meet digital demand.
  • Technology demands such as application development/DevOps on the mainframe; 78% of respondents want to be able to update mainframe applications more frequently than currently possible.
  • Workforce evolution, as the number of next-gen mainframe talent grows with the number of women working on the platform.

Automate – Mainframe modernization continues to play a key role in respondents’ priorities, with the need to implement AI and machine learning strategies increasing by 8% year over year.

Secure – while the mainframe has the reputation of being a naturally secure platform, respondents note the growing need to fortify its “walls”. Security overtook cost optimization as the top mainframe priority among respondents for the first time in the survey’s 15-year history.

“Early results have been shared with key industry analysts and key clients from our Mainframe Executive Council to validate the results with market sentiment,” says John MckennySenior Vice President of Mainframe Strategy and Innovation at BMC.

“These conversations further reinforced the study’s findings that the platform’s positive outlook and growth is largely driven by the need to create customer-centric, intuitive digital experiences. The mainframe continues to shine as innovative, agile and secure and is an essential part of digital success.

Workforce Demographic Changes

The survey revealed demographic shifts in mainframe operations, as younger, less experienced staff replace departing executives, and a higher proportion of women surveyed than last year.

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