Seven trends that are accelerating the autonomous digital business



Digital transformation was a long-term strategy for many organizations, but the global pandemic has dramatically changed the pace of this charter. Now every organization, in every industry, is laser-focused on digital transformation as it seeks to meet urgent and rapidly changing customer needs.

About the Author

April Hickel is Vice President, ZSolutions Strategy at BMC.

Businesses seeking greater agility, actionable data-driven insights, and greater customer focus are striving to become a Digital Self-Contained Enterprise (ADE). And while many have turned to cloud computing, automation, and AI for the flexibility, speed, and agility they need, the mainframe plays a central role in fueling its ADE journey as well as the digital services that organizations and their customers rely on.

As a result, we’ll see seven key mainframe trends emerge as organizations continue this digital acceleration.

1. The mainframe will become mainstream, quickly

For most of his tenure, the mainframe has been treated with celebrity status, held behind a velvet noose, separate from the rest of the organization’s IT infrastructure. As it is further integrated with distributed systems and customer-centric web applications, IT and the business at large will realize that the mainframe is a key part of their hybrid digital delivery infrastructure. They will therefore see that it is urgent to integrate the mainframe into the general public to support their continued transformation. To enable this, we will see an increased shift towards self-managed mainframes, with more widespread adoption of modern practices such as AIOps and automation. The traditional adoption curve for this will also be disrupted, as organizations realize they don’t have the luxury of waiting.

2. The increase in multi-platform pipelines

As we continue into 2021, businesses will double their digital transformation, as they rush to deliver new applications and services faster than ever. The mainframe will be the key to their ability to be successful, so it needs to be prioritized and treated the same as any other platform that powers transformation. So we’ll see more and more organizations looking to integrate the mainframe with broader DevOps approaches to drive innovation and delight customers. Application development will start to look the same on the mainframe as it does outside the mainframe, as true cross-platform DevOps arrives.

3. The experience of the developer will be a first-class citizen

As cross-platform DevOps gains momentum, organizations will increasingly realize the need to modernize the developer experience to enable a new generation to work confidently on the mainframe. To do this, they will have to make sure that the only difference between the mainframe and other platforms is the syntax. As such, we will see organizations empowering their developers to work on the mainframe using the same intuitive development environments and the same build, test, and deployment toolchains that they are familiar with. other systems. In effect, this means that developers only have to learn COBOL before they can innovate on the mainframe.

4. Mainframe tests will be automatic

Automated testing will be a high priority in the coming year as organizations move towards establishing a self-managed mainframe. Developers traditionally follow the “bake a cake” method, where certain steps such as testing take a predetermined amount of time regardless of what is “baked”. This leads to a lengthy process which is not suited to the rapid pace of modern transformation. Developers need to know within hours, not weeks, whether their change has had the desired effect or is having a negative impact on the business. Test automation therefore offers a powerful ability to change the way people think about application development and how they operate, and is a critical building block for moving faster on the mainframe.

5. Security through darkness will disappear

There is a perception that because the mainframe is the most secure platform, it is inherently secure. However, most organizations focus only on access control, which, while important, does not guarantee the same level of cybersecurity that exists on other platforms. As the mainframe increasingly becomes part of a hybrid digital delivery infrastructure, it is more open to the internet and no longer enjoys security by obscurity. Bad actors are now targeting mainframes more regularly, to gain access to valuable customer information. As organizations seek to resolve this issue, they will treat mainframe security the same as any other platform, governed by the same detection tools and processes and advanced indicators of compromise.

6. Mapping of value chains will increase

It’s hard to measure productivity in a meaningful way, but you can measure waste and get it out of the system much more easily. As organizations seek to apply this thinking to the mainframe to identify how digital innovation can be accelerated, we will see widespread adoption of value chain mapping. This will help identify major bottlenecks, such as when developers wait weeks for code to be reviewed before they can move their project forward through the delivery pipeline. Once these areas are identified, it’s easier to determine where automation and other changes can be introduced to deliver greater value through a self-managed mainframe.

7. Ops walls will fall

Many companies still have siled operations centers for the mainframe, but this will change as they seek to accelerate their evolution to an ADE by equipping operations with the same speed and agility they have achieved in Development. In the coming months, we will see more and more efforts to break down the silos that remain on the operations side to further accelerate DevOps. Database change management will be integrated with DevOps, resulting in a transition from event-driven operations to intelligent operations. This will allow organizations to leverage their databases to create a tighter loop between Dev and Ops and enable more predictable results from software delivery.

As the mainframe becomes more entrenched in the backbone of organizations’ IT infrastructure, these seven key trends will become vital to driving digital acceleration and crucial along its journey to becoming a self-sustaining digital business.


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