This blog is for Mainframe Modernization professionals to discuss and share perspectives, point of views and best practices around key trending topics. Discover the ART and science of mainframe modernization.

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Non-Disruptive Renewal of Mainframe Systems [Part 1/6]

In order to better understand the mainframe footprint in an enterprise, its usage to support critical business processes, the benefits, constraints and challenges imposed by it, we looked across our clients' IT landscape across industries who are active users of Mainframe (z-series) today. Most of the Mainframe enterprise users could be categorized into 3 tiers:

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Tier 1. Less than 4000 MIPS - A lot of organizations in Retail, Consumer goods, Services, Utilities and Manufacturing industries typically fall under this category. These organizations usually have a small footprint of their IT landscape running on mainframe and these, by and large are few core transactional systems (mostly systems of record). The extent of change done to these systems is minimal. TheT run cost of the mainframe portfolio for them is comparatively high and they are looking for ways to optimize their run cost and improve agility of these systems.

Tier 2. 4000 - 40,000 MIPS - Most of the mid to large size organizations in the Financial Services, Healthcare, Insurance, Retail and Logistics industries mostly fall under this category. For these organizations, their Mainframe footprint is a significant part of their IT landscape and most of their core systems (systems of record and systems of differentiation) run on Mainframe. These systems typically undergo lots of BAU changes and enhancements to support the key business and digital initiatives.

Tier 3. 40,000 - 200,000 MIPS - Most of the large organizations in Financial Services, Healthcare, Insurance and Cards/Payments industry typically fall under this category. In these organizations, most of their core mission critical transactions systems run on mainframe which is core to their business. The run cost of mainframe portfolio for them is relatively not very high and the mainframe application portfolio is continuously evolving to meet the changing business and digital needs.

Irrespective of the tier an organization fits into, most IT leaders I have interacted with are thinking more and more about Mainframe renewal to get more out of their mainframe investments, optimize cost, improve time to market, enable digital initiatives and newer customer experiences in order to deliver more business value. For organizations in Tier 1, cost optimization is the biggest driver. For organizations in Tier-2, time to market, agility and cost optimization are key drivers. For organizations in Tier-3, while cost is important, the bigger drivers are ageing workforce, agility to support digital initiatives and unlocking value of mainframe assets. Although there is an intent to renew Mainframe systems, most of them worry about the lack of in-depth knowledge of the mainframe applications as these were written and enhanced over several decades, impacting the stability of the core systems, causing business disruption, in addition to the lack of developers with expert knowledge of these technologies and systems.

To address these challenges and provide a non-disruptive way to renew mainframe systems, we at Infosys have developed a new ART (Accelerate, Renew and Transform) approach. Accelerate focuses on optimizing the run cost of the mainframe portfolio and accelerating the value realization process. Renew focuses on improving agility, time to market and fire-laning of mainframe applications to integrate with newer user experience channels. Transform focuses on strategically migrating applications out of mainframe to next generation architecture and platforms.

In my next blog I will cover the typical modernization challenges and how to mitigate these challenges.

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