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Global Survey Reveals Companies at Risk from Inadequate Planning for Generational Shift in Mainframe Stewardship

CIOs see mainframe workloads growing and playing a central role in digital innovation—but loss of skilled platform veterans looms large on horizon

Key survey findings from 350 enterprise CIOs:
  • 88% believe the mainframe will be a key business asset over the next decade

  • 78% see the mainframe as a key enabler of innovation

  • 70% are concerned about knowledge transfer and risk

  • 39% have no explicit plans for addressing mainframe developer shortages

  • 70% are surprised by how much additional work and money is required to ensure new platforms and applications match the security provided by the mainframe

DETROIT—June 10, 2015—Compuware Corporation, the world’s leading mainframe-dedicated software company, today released the findings from a survey of 350 CIOs regarding the use and management of mainframe hardware and software in the enterprise. The survey uncovered a profound disconnect between the continued importance of the mainframe to the business and the actions CIOs are taking to protect their investments in the platform.

Growing workloads, ongoing innovation

The survey makes it clear that CIOs see the mainframe playing a central role in the future of the digital enterprise. 88% agreed that the mainframe will continue to be a key business asset over the next decade, and 81% reported that their mainframes continue to evolve—running more new and different workloads than they did five years ago. In particular, survey respondents cited the advantages of the mainframe in processing Big Data.

The overwhelming majority of respondents also see mainframe code as valuable corporate intellectual property (89%) and see the mainframe as a key enabler of innovation (78%).

CIOs also see the mainframe as superior to other platforms from a cost/benefit perspective. 70% reported that they have been surprised by how much additional work and money is required to ensure new platforms and applications match the security provided by the mainframe.

Enterprises at risk

Despite the central role the mainframe continues to play in the digital enterprise, the survey reveals that inadequate investment in the mainframe is putting companies at risk in multiple ways. For example, while 75% of CIOs recognize that distributed application developers have little understanding of the mainframe and 70% are concerned that a lack of documentation will hinder knowledge transfer and create risk, 4 out of 10 have not put formal plans in place to address the coming generational shift in mainframe stewardship—as their most experienced platform professionals retire.

By the same token, advancement of mainframe applications ranked lowest on the survey when it came to allocation of human resources on the mainframe—despite the fact that respondents claimed to value those applications as key corporate IP.

The survey also revealed that the mainframe remains “siloed” from the rest of IT, even though CIOs also recognize the increasing importance of utilizing the mainframe in concert with other enterprise IT resources.

“Executives are increasingly realizing that in order to remain competitive in today’s dynamic, digital world, they must move away from siloed organizational structures,” said Jason Bloomberg, President of agile digital transformation analysis firm Intellyx. “Organizations that depend upon mainframes to run their businesses must put the right tools, processes, and culture in place to drive collaboration across mainframe and non-mainframe teams. Digital success hangs in the balance.”

“CIOs clearly need to re-prioritize investments in the mainframe in order to maximize the value IT delivers to the business and to effectively mitigate the risk associated with the generational shift in IT staffing,” said Compuware CEO Chris O’Malley. “Our survey reveals that CIOs are aware of this, but are struggling to respond. Not since Y2K has the mainframe required as much CIO attention and direct involvement. Hope is never a good mainframe strategy.”

Survey white paper            

The survey results are further explored in the white paper titled, “‘The New World of Mainframes’ CIO Survey: Mapping the Platform’s Future in a Mobile, Big Data World.”

*Commissioned by Compuware and conducted by independent research company Vanson Bourne, the survey was administered to 350 CIOs at large companies covering a cross-section of vertical markets in Australia, Benelux, France, Germany, Italy, the UK and the U.S.

Compuware Corporation

Compuware empowers the world’s largest companies to excel in the digital economy by fully leveraging their high-value mainframe intellectual property.  We do this by delivering highly innovative mainframe application development and performance optimization solutions that uniquely enable IT to drive business value. Learn more at compuware.com.

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Press Contacts

Kristina LeBlanc, The Medialink Group, kristinawleblanc@gmail.com, (508) 930-5636
Mary McCarthy, Public Relations Manager, Compuware, mary.mccarthy@compuware.com, (313) 227-8188.

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