As digital transformation efforts drive change across the enterprise, the mainframe team finds itself at an inflection point.
For organizations that have mainframes, these platforms have long been handling the core transaction processing at the heart of their businesses. Today, however, IT leaders face skills retention challenges as mainframe experts rapidly retire.
Furthermore, the business challenges facing mainframe teams today are inevitably centered on strategic digital transformation initiatives. The result: CIOs must make the critical decision regarding the role of the mainframe in their digital efforts.
The challenge today is bringing the mainframe into the modern IT context – modernizing its tooling, interfaces, and people to make the venerable platform an essential enabler of modern digital initiatives.
Nevertheless, such an investment is absolutely critical, as the mainframe will continue to drive the business. Efficiency, reliability, and stability are the raison d’être of the mainframe, and such capabilities are every bit as important as they have always been – and continued investment in optimizing the mainframe to maintain and improve these capabilities will always be a priority.
How, then, does the organization balance these two priorities? Can an organization continue to enjoy and optimize the core benefits of the mainframe while making it an integral part of the modern IT environment?
The Best Practice
The key to understanding how to balance the conflicting priorities impacting the mainframe is to understand that people, processes, and tools must change in order to support a hybrid IT environment that includes mainframes.
The specifics, of course, depend upon the particular situation at each organization. IT leadership should carefully review both existing technology assets as well as requirements for new technology and implement a hybrid IT architecture that incorporates both types of technology.
Such implementation requires modern tooling – tools that today’s collaborative, self-organizing teams following Agile processes are comfortable using. In the digital scenario above, everyone uses modern tools – even when working with legacy assets.
Digital best practice also requires a modern, architected approach to corporate data. While mainframes still serve as the enterprise’s central systems of record, there may also be requirements to maintain data in modern, cloud-based systems like Salesforce or ServiceNow.
However, instead of implementing complex integration scenarios that can create obstacles to a modern data strategy, modern digital best practice properly abstracts and virtualizes corporate data across the board.