Mainframe Blog

How to Find Your ‘Best Friend’ When it Comes to Mainframe MLC Savings

Donald Pate
3 minute read
Donald Pate

Do You Believe in the Expression: “If You Want a Friend, Get a Dog?”

I do.

His name is Sam, but my dog Sam isn’t the “friend in the room” that many of my customers really need. The new best friend that they’re searching for is someone who can help them significantly reduce the cost of their IBM mainframe, yet maintain their service levels.

How about you?

Are you looking for a new best friend to be by your side when you go hunting for significant cost reduction ROI? If your answer is “yes” or “maybe,” read the following short list of good places to start. You might just find your “new best friend.”

1. Look for them in your own backyard

It could be that your new best friend already works in your organization, but is not aligned to your mission and goals. For example, it’s quite possible that your technical staff is on mission and doing a terrific job of guarding customer service levels (a.k.a. 99.999% availability), but not quite as aligned on driving cost reduction through efficiency and innovation.

Continuing on the example with my dog Sam (a German Short-Hair Pointer, by the way), he is capable of faithfully serving the family with dual missions:

  • Guard the house (service levels)
  • Point to opportunities that might be hiding in the weeds, which others might not see (cost saving moves).

So, first answer this question: Is your new best friend already present and capable on your team, but needs a new challenge, which can take the form of finding innovative ways to reduce costs? The effort should be equally weighted with what they already do everyday (delivering and guarding the 99.999% availability).

Possible Outcome: If the impact on the company financials is positive, why not tie the effort to an outcome-based bonus? Offer a nice “treat” when they find that hidden treasure for you.

2. Look for them in your neighbor’s yard

The cost management problem in the mainframe world has been escalating at higher rates for the past seven years. You probably have friends in executive positions that have faced the familiar Service Levels versus Cost dilemma and achieved actual cost victories. What did they do to succeed in mobilizing their staff to support those cost savings initiatives?

Possible Outcome:  I guarantee that checking in with your friends, corporate neighbors, and fellow executives to simply ask some questions will open an interesting dialog. Not only will you reconnect with these valuable personalities and experts, you might exchange impactful ideas that benefit both companies. Cost optimization is never a topic that wanes uninteresting.

3. Consider bringing in “Mainframe Whisperers”

One of my favorite TV shows is Lucky Dog, a reality show with a host who is a professional dog trainer (a.k.a. “whisperer”). He matches a homeless dog from a shelter with a new home, usually after providing a bit of training. Everyone here wins. The “lucky dog” gets a new home (mission in life) and the owner gets a new best friend.

Here’s the great news: Mainframe Optimization Whisperers (MOWs) exist today! And they offer real benefit. Mainframe vendor contracts are generally complex (perhaps intentionally), resulting in an uneven playing field for customers as they try to negotiate a good deal. Many customers have discovered that by using a MOW, they have a new best friend physically with them right there in the negotiating room.

Several good MOWs are available, but I really recommend that you add two in particular to your list: SZS Consulting, founded by David Wilson, and Gerry Tuddenham’s CPT Global, a consulting company that is dedicated to helping customers to “train their IBM mainframes to behave better.”

Possible Outcome: Working with a MOW can result in great financial benefits, reducing expense anywhere from 5% to more than 30%. But they can also add invaluable knowledge to the company brain trust. Making the mainframe thrive for your company is a realistic goal, particularly if you don’t try going it alone.

4. Make your IBM Mainframe “Well-Behaved” with technology 

Here’s the good news: A “well-behaved” IBM mainframe can be achieved quicker than you think. It doesn’t need to cost a ton of money. Some people are misled into thinking that it costs so much to optimize a mainframe, that you’re forced to leave it. Or, that costly MLC software products (DB2, IMS, CICS, etc.) are just something you pay for without asking why. On the contrary, companies like BMC and Compuware are dedicated to making IBM mainframes “well-behaved” and “cost friendly”— with innovative and cool new technologies.

Possible Outcome: This one is pretty straightforward. Invest in money-saving technology, implement, and record your annual ROI. My customers are telling me that they see savings of 7% to over 20% in MLC expense, just as an example. If your ultimate goal is to achieve bottom-line savings, you’re already halfway there by reading this blog.

Thanks for reading and I hope that you’re as fortunate as I am in finding your “Sam”.

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These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.

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About the author

Donald Pate

Donald Pate

Don began his career with IBM 35 years ago and has served in a wide range of roles during that time including CEO positions with Tonic Software and NEON Systems. He currently serves as BMC's VP of Z optimization.