What if I told you that the oldest active computing platform is also one of the most innovative, seen as a platform for growth and new workloads, not just by seasoned professionals, but by a new generation of stewards, too? The 2023 BMC Mainframe Survey shows just that. In addition to an overwhelmingly positive perception and growth mindset regarding the mainframe, the survey reveals that the majority of those who are most enthusiastic about its future are relative newcomers to the platform.
Now in its 18th edition, the annual BMC Mainframe Survey gauges the opinions of more than 800 executive and technical professionals on a range of topics, from overall perception of the platform to top priorities, common practices and greatest challenges.
This year’s results show that 94% of respondents have a positive perception of the mainframe, with 62% citing it as a platform to grow and attract new workloads. This tracks the 62% who report adopting DevOps practices on the platform. It’s no surprise, then, that two of the top five priorities cited by respondents are efforts to enhance automation and modernize applications. Organizations around the world recognize that the mainframe can be a leader in innovation, powering their digital transformations.
Modern Management Approaches
This innovation goes beyond the software and services developed for the mainframe to include those used to manage the platform. It’s reported that 35% of respondents listed the implementation of cloud technologies as one of their top four priorities for the coming year, with 41% saying they are considering cloud-based storage and backup. With the growing volume of mainframe data and the emergence of new regulations and standards governing data security and recovery, organizations are turning to cloud-based data management to reduce costs and improve recovery options.
Year over year, the number of survey respondents reporting the use of AIOps hasn’t changed considerably, but those reporting its cross-platform use on both mainframe and non-mainframe systems has jumped 7% from 2021.
Organizations are recognizing the need to take advantage of the greatest business values of AIOps — cited in the survey as improved uptime and the ability to detect problems quickly, understand trends and respond proactively — as part of a holistic approach to enterprise IT operations management.
With increased cross-platform use, significant benefits and a decrease in the number of respondents reporting implementation challenges like cost, complexity and the need for specialized skillsets, BMC sees AIOps as an area ripe for significant growth in the coming year.
Investment Pays Dividends
Improving the availability, quality and efficiency of the mainframe, of course, requires investment. In our report on the results of the 2023 BMC Mainframe Survey, we compare the responses of maximizers (those planning to increase investment in the platform) with those of minimizers (those planning to decrease investment levels). The results are eye-opening.
Maximizers have invested in future-proofing their workforce in a variety of ways, and the data bears that out; 81% have ten or fewer years of experience on the platform. The new generation of stewards sees the mainframe not as a legacy platform, but one of continued growth and innovation, worthy of the investment required not just to keep it modern, but to place it at the forefront of digital transformation.
Another key difference between maximizers and minimizers relates to security, which was cited as the top overall priority of survey respondents for the fourth consecutive year. Maximizers are more likely than minimizers to have a dedicated resource to investigate security events and to have dedicated ransomware recovery capabilities in place. It should come as no surprise, then, that maximizers were 20% more likely than minimizers to report that their mainframe security controls for ransomware are extremely effective.
These results show that the differences between maximizers and minimizers go beyond outlook, producing tangible effects on outcomes. The maximizers increasing their investment in the mainframe report fewer challenges with staffing and skills shortages and a stronger stance against increasingly sophisticated cyberthreats. The minimizers decreasing their investment in the platform not only have greater difficulty in maintaining a skilled workforce, which increases the risk of falling behind competitively, but it also puts their organizations at serious risk of potentially catastrophic security breaches.
A Bright Future
In short, the results of the 2023 BMC Mainframe Survey reflect a positive outlook for the platform’s future. By investing in their workforces and the tools required to advance and protect the platform while adopting modern techniques and practices, organizations can reduce risk and promote innovation that delights their customers.