Investing in the mainframe remains key driver for digital transformation

Leading organizations are investing in the mainframe, innovating with DevOps, and integrating systems and teams to drive digital transformation, according to a BMC survey.

mainframe investing

Champions drive mainframe innovation for business growth

After surveying more than 1,300 executives and technical professionals globally, it is clear the mainframe will continue to be instrumental in powering digital businesses in an unpredictable world. Among the findings:

  • 92% see the mainframe as a platform for long-term growth and new workloads.
  • 86% of extra-large shops expect MIPS to grow while 72% of them have more than half their data on the mainframe.
  • 66% of respondents are mainframe champions investing in new technologies such as AIOps and artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML), innovating to meet rising digital demands with DevOps, and integrating the mainframe into enterprise IT.
  • 19% of respondents are mainframe laggards keeping their investment flat; they derive less value in new technologies on the platform and report relatively modest growth in mainframe data and apps.

Shift-left automated testing enables faster delivery with better quality

Organizations are moving quickly to keep pace with the rising demand for new applications and services that deliver a better customer experience for internal and external users. According to the survey:

  • 39% of respondents cite application modernization as a top priority.
  • 88% of champions want to update applications with greater frequency, and 40% update every week or every other week.
  • 43% of champions want to improve application quality with DevOps.
  • 80% of champions yield value from their mainframe DevOps adoption within a year or less.

“Mainframe is still the system of choice for companies that need high-transaction throughput with guaranteed reliability and consistent data. As mainframe data steadily becomes more complex with new uses for web and mobile applications, the need for mainframe DevOps adoption and AI-driven monitoring solutions rises exponentially,” said Stephen Elliot, group VP, I&O, Cloud Operations, and DevOps, IDC.

“Organizations leveraging the mainframe should be adopting modern DevOps and AIOps solutions that improve visibility and management across the entire software and services chain to the end-user.”

AI/ML enables innovation and improves performance

Businesses continue to invest in AI/ML to speed detection and analysis while simplifying workflows. According to the survey, extra-large shops prioritized implementation of AI/ML, with 57% of mainframe champions reducing the need for specialized skills with AIOps.

The trend toward implementing new technologies on mainframes has also picked up, with 36% citing it as a key strength (up 11% since 2019.)

Automated compliance ensures active security posture

Security was the most-named priority for the second year in a row (61%) among survey respondents. Sixty-three percent of mainframe champions are making security and compliance a top priority, and they are also 85% more likely than laggards to send mainframe data to an enterprise SIEM.

While the mainframe is inherently securable, last year’s shift to remote work proved that perimeter-based defenses are no longer enough, and an active approach is essential to ensure protection.

“The survey results, which were validated early on with clients and analysts, are resoundingly clear: executive and technical professionals are confident that the mainframe remains a key part of their digital success,” said John McKenny, SVP and GM, Intelligent Z Optimization and Transformation at BMC.

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