Mainframe Blog

Why It’s Good to Grow your Mainframe – Key Insights from the 2016 Mainframe Survey

Tom Vogel
3 minute read
Tom Vogel


The BMC 11th annual survey of more than 1,200 mainframe professionals provided a variety of new insights into how digital business impacts the mainframe. The survey explored the different approaches companies are taking to leverage the mainframe, their results, and their top priorities. The research reinforced what our customers have been saying for many years – the mainframe is a strategic, powerful platform and is here to stay. Here are five key findings from this research:

  1. The impact of digital business is increasing.
    A big change from past surveys shows how digital business has created a surge in data and transaction volumes. The always-on digital economy drives consumers to conduct more transactions and these interactions will continue to increase. Most of those activities depend upon the mainframe to provide the stability, security and availability needed to deliver fast, continuous service. These activities are occurring in an environment where workloads can become more unpredictable and volatile as digital business accelerates.
  1. Mainframe shops fall into three groups, with many industry leaders in the increasing group.
    Mainframe organizations are either increasing their mainframe environment, staying on a steady course, or reducing their workloads.

    • Mainframe Increasing Group – Many well-recognized, leading companies are in the “increasing workloads” group. This group generally represents companies that see more advantages in the capabilities of the mainframe, are adding workloads, and exploiting new technologies.
    • Steady Group – The steady group views the platform as the best option for maintaining critical applications but is limiting the addition of new workloads.
    • Reducing Group – The reducing group is looking to lower their usage of the platform.
  2. Companies in the “mainframe increasing group” experience unique benefits including more activity from digital business.
    Many high-revenue companies with growing profits and industry-leading brand names we know, are increasing their use of the mainframe. They represent the largest portion of survey respondents. These companies are more likely to get the most value from the mainframe by using advanced automation and newer technologies. In addition, they are experiencing more activity from digital business, taking a longer-term view, and investing in more capacity. Overall, this group is most likely to experience the largest growth in data volumes and databases.Executives in this category see value in the mainframe for its availability, performance, and security strengths. They are focusing on modernizing to take advantage of new mainframe technologies. This group is also more likely to directly address the skills gap by exploiting automation wherever possible.
  1. The mainframe continues to be a strategic, long-term platform for growth.
    Digital business drives growth and for the 11th consecutive year, the viability of the mainframe continues to remain consistent for nearly 90 percent of the respondents. This is a good indication that the vast majority of mainframe respondents consider the mainframe to be the best platform for hosting and managing the volatility and unpredictability of digital business.
  1. Top priorities for the next 12 months continue to be cost optimization, compliance, availability, and application modernization.
    These priorities are all tied to the impact of the digital economy. Many organizations are applying various new strategies and technologies, like Java, to help meet these priorities. In fact, 72% of respondents are running Java applications on the mainframe.Many companies surveyed plan to take a variety of additional actions to optimize data, systems, and costs. The group increasing mainframe use, in particular, is focusing on reducing resource usage during peak periods and exploiting zIIP specialty engines to reduce costs.

Digital business has created a starburst effect by dramatically increasing the number of transactions and systems interactions per transaction. This activity is only going to intensify over time. To learn more about what customers are saying, read the 2016 Mainframe Research Report.

Annual BMC Mainframe Survey

The 14th Annual BMC Mainframe Survey 2019 reports optimistic trends about the mainframe’s role in emerging and established businesses.
Download Now ›

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

See an error or have a suggestion? Please let us know by emailing

Run and Reinvent Your Business with BMC

BMC has unmatched experience in IT management, supporting 92 of the Forbes Global 100, and earning recognition as an ITSM Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader for six years running. Our solutions offer speed, agility, and efficiency to tackle business challenges in the areas of service management, automation, operations, and the mainframe. Learn more about BMC ›

About the author

Tom Vogel

Tom Vogel

Tom Vogel has enjoyed 25 years in the software industry, in various technical, marketing, and business development roles.
At IBM Corporation, Tom managed product launches for various database products on all platforms. Previously, Tom managed the marketing and communications for a host of middleware software packages, such as OpenTV interactive TV software. At Automation Anywhere in San Jose, Tom was the Director of the ERP Business, managing Business Development and Marketing for the company's rapidly growing ERP process automation and testing automation solutions. Tom is experienced in building customer and partner relationships, and has an MBA from Santa Clara University. Today, Tom is the Lead Solutions Marketing Manager for innovative mainframe cost optimization and data management offerings at BMC Software.