Did someone forget to tell the mainframe it was irrelevant?
For many years, the much lauded death of the mainframe has been espoused by many pundits. Many believed the end of the mainframe would be further accelerated with the rapid growth of cloud adoption. I am sorry to report to those naysayers, the mainframe didn’t get the message, and lives on, alive and well as the beating heart of many large businesses. For instance, the mainframe is leveraged by 92 of the top 100 banks worldwide, 23 of the top 25 US retailers, all 10 of the world’s 10 largest insurers, and 23 of the world’s 25 largest airlines.[i]
Mainframe is part of the digital business ecosystem
The drive for speed to counter competitors and deliver new and agile solutions has never been more evident. Successful digital businesses have found the secret to unleashing the data and business processes within their mainframe-based applications. Starting with “ad-hoc” integrations between systems of engagement and systems of record, they soon find the ability to define innovative products and services is limited by an inability to evolve and improve their mainframe applications. For instance, a simple mobile insurance application is actually just the gateway to a complex set of applications that must work seamlessly with the mobile application and with each other to provide customers and prospects with great experiences.
The Webster Dictionary describes fatigue (also sometimes called exhaustion, tiredness, languor, lassitude or listlessness) as "a subjective feeling of tiredness which is distinct from weakness, and has a gradual onset."
Technology management transformations - and in specific, I&O transformations - suffer from fatigue in many organizations. Some of it is due to the fact that the term "transformation" is more jargon than anything real. Transformation means many things to many people and therfore we never really exit a transformation as we move from project to project, continually transforming.
If I asked you, does I&O transformation mean reshaping your architecture? Streamlining your service management and integration (SIAM) processes? Adjusting your automation strategy? Improving your application performance management to become more proactive? Reducing operational cost? Shifting your infrastructure and applications into the cloud? You would say "yes" to all of them, with all of them being described as some kind of transformation. Eliminating fatigue means following a transformation plan. The plan needs to be supported with details to shift the conversation from costs of the technology “feeds and speeds” to how the technology will enable the business to win, serve, and retain their customers.
In case you missed it, Forrester recently published its predictions on what and how I&O organizations must prioritize in 2015 to pursue the Business Technology agenda. The predictions are focused on how to innovate so that you can meet the speed, quality and agility your business demands. It also discusses the transformation needs I&O organizations are facing across people, processes and technology -- in particular how you must focus much of your efforts on enabling your workforce to be productive.
As I have been in I&O since the beginning of my professional career (which means forever), I see 2015 as a year to transform our I&O profession and organizations. The opportunities are spanning from partnering with your Application Development & Design team in a new way of operations -- we call this Modern Service Delivery (you might have seen this as DevOps); explore new ways to enable your workforce and how to change your approach to the technology supply chain and ecosystem. See for yourself what our predictions are. The full details can be found here in the November 20, 2014 report, "Predictions 2015: Infrastructure & Operations Prioritizes Pursuing The BT Agenda".