In this episode of BMC AMI Z Talk, Stefanie Scott and Alan Warhurst discuss how an intelligent, automated mainframe can drive digital business forward and help companies progress on their journey towards becoming an Autonomous Digital Enterprise. Below is a condensed transcript of our conversation.
Stefanie: For those who aren’t familiar with autonomous digital enterprise or ADE, Alan, can you give us a quick overview of what this means in today’s enterprise?
Alan: Certainly, Stephanie, yes. So, ADE is BMC’s vision of what organizations will need to transform to become, to give themselves that competitive differentiation to operate in the digital economy. It’s really focused around five key tenets, so: Looking at people’s customer experience, giving them a transcendent customer experience. Supplying automation to everything that’s there. Not just IT, but across the entire enterprise.
Supporting the move towards Enterprise DevOps to give them the agility that’s there and use data to actually fundamentally draw business decisions – to allow them to make impactful business decisions in the right time and in the right way. Finally, one of the key elements of it is around cybersecurity, so having the organization properly guarded by an adaptive cybersecurity approach.
Stefanie: Okay, with that said, what do you see as your biggest challenge to companies getting to an autonomous digital enterprise, especially in the mainframe space?
Alan: So, I think for mainframe users, it’s about how they transform not only things like their working practices, as in the DevOps space, but also how they transform the way that they monitor and manage their mainframe environment to continue to deliver that transcendent customer experience, and to make sure that it’s always available regardless of whether customers are actually coming in. I mentioned about ADE and the five key tenets, but one of the pieces that drives that is about mobile access to the mainframe, and that drives different ways of looking at and picking out with the mainframe environment.
Stefanie: You know, companies keep talking about getting off the mainframe, but we’re rarely seeing this happen. Do you feel companies see the mainframe simply as a cost center they’re trying to exit? Or are they confused on how to modernize the mainframe and get to an autonomous digital enterprise?
Alan: Well, I think it’s really interesting – as we’ve talked to customers and as I’ve seen customers evolve over the time I worked with BMC, we’ve seen more and more customers recognizing the true value that exists in the mainframe platform and how it can be used to help drive forwards toward an ADE type approach to working. You know, those companies that are modernizing, that are adapting – adaptive cybersecurity, those kinds of pieces are truly thriving in this digital economy and they’re increasing in value.
If you look at things like BMC’s annual mainframe survey and those kinds of things, sentiment and that approach to the mainframe is at an all-time high. It has been gradually growing, particularly in the executive community in the past few years.
Stefanie: So, how do you think the recent pandemic has affected companies’ mainframe strategy, with that in mind?
Alan: We’ve kind of seen a combination of things. We see a perceived growth in additional MIPS, in additional workload actually coming onto the mainframe. Certainly, when we’ve had the last financial crisis, we saw actually a growth in mainframe use because people were looking at it as a platform for consolidation. So, we see that growth element. We also see people very much focusing on an opportunity to retrench and an opportunity to truly understand how their mainframe can support their business.
So, optimizing that cost base but also truly focusing – and I think it’s the primary focus of almost all the organizations we spoke to as we’ve gone through this evolving situation. They’re really, really focused on their availability. They need their mainframe systems to be there to truly underpin their business. The growth in online activity, people working behind – just generally online activity shopping and those kind of things has meant that the mainframe that truly drives those industries needs to always be there, and in the event that they have any kind of a problem, that could affect them, that means that they’re going to have to lose business.
And then they start to struggle. A lot of organizations at the moment are trying to retrench and put themselves into a level of survival mode. Some are focusing on “Okay, how do we move from survive through into that thrive and to try forward and to expand into that opportunity that’s going to come forward.”
Stefanie: We’ve heard for years mainframers are retiring and now that trend is actually happening. How can BMC AMI Ops help an organization who’s losing experienced teams faster than new employees can close that knowledge gap?