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BMC Releases 12th Annual Mainframe Survey Uncovering 91% of IT Professionals Predict Long-Term Viability of the Mainframe

Survey busts myths around mainframe demographics, modernization; reveals mainframe is a critical core IT platform that is the backbone of digital business.

HOUSTON – November 1, 2017 – BMC, the global leader in IT solutions for the digital enterprise, today announced the results of its 12th annual Mainframe Research Report, highlighting the power and value of the mainframe for digital business. The survey – the industry’s largest of its kind with more than 1,000 executives’ and technical professionals’ perspectives included – provides new and compelling data on demographics and priorities, and debunks mainframe myths.

Even as many organizations continue to adopt multi-cloud technologies as part of their dramatic transformation, the mainframe remains a relevant and growing data center hub for many. The survey highlights that organizations are committed to the mainframe, as respondents are modernizing their operations and technologies, have a more positive attitude toward the mainframe, and are changing their workforce to ensure the right staffing and skills are on board.

"Results from the 2017 BMC Mainframe Research Report provide a good indicator on the future health and viability of the mainframe," said Bill Miller, president of ZSolutions at BMC. "The survey shatters a prevailing variety of myths and highlights the strategic importance of the mainframe. Overwhelmingly, it is clear that the mainframe is a critical core IT platform that is the backbone of digital business. As businesses make the shift to become digital, BMC helps customers address their challenges, priorities, and growth initiatives, to unleash the power and value of the mainframe.”
With an overwhelming 91% of survey respondents predicting that mainframe workloads will continue to grow, it’s clear that they view the mainframe as a viable, long-term platform.

While many priorities remained unchanged from last year’s survey, staffing and skills leaped forward as a key priority as respondents modernize their mainframe environment. This year, 44% of respondents indicate that staffing and skills are key challenges due to the changing workforce, and 36% of respondents indicate this is a priority in the coming year.

Mainframe Myths
Five myths about the mainframe industry around operations, attitudes, and the workforce are exposed in this year’s survey:

  • Organizations have fully optimized their mainframes for maximum availability.
  • The mainframe is in maintenance mode, and no one is modernizing it.
  • Executives are planning to replace their mainframes with other technology.
  • Younger IT professionals are pessimistic about careers on the mainframe.
  • Only older people work on the mainframe today.

Modernizing Operations
Dispelling the myth that the mainframe is fully optimized and in maintenance mode, the survey results indicate that organizations are modernizing their operations.

With 66% of respondents indicating that they will focus on planned outages to increase availability, the survey dispels the myth that organizations have fully optimized their mainframes. The top applications running on the mainframe are transactional systems, big data, and analytics, and organizations continue to focus on increasing availability.

Evolving Attitudes, Changing Workforce
Attitudes about the mainframe also continue to evolve. Contrary to the perception that executives want to replace mainframes, many recognize that mainframes are a critical core IT platform. In this year’s results, 47% of executives indicate they will grow and attract new workloads.

The survey dispels several myths about the mainframe workforce, including the perception that mainframe professionals are all older in age, while younger IT professionals are pessimistic about the mainframe industry’s prospects.

  • 53% of respondents are under the age of 50, and many of these respondents have a positive view of the mainframe.
  • 69% of those in the mid-career group (ages 30 to 49 with one to ten years of experience), see growth in their mainframe workloads and view the mainframe as having a strong position of growth in the industry overall.
  • Millennials under the age of 30 are very enthusiastic about the future of the mainframe.

“Mainframe applications and databases provide critical business services as organizations undergo modernization and digital transformation.  Ongoing research is important to understand the evolving state and direction of the mainframe.  Such studies can provide a valuable perspective to help mainframe organizations evaluate customer attitudes and expectations,” according to Tim Grieser, Research VP, Enterprise System Management Software, IDC.
To further unleash the power and value of the mainframe, BMC recommends adopting solutions that help better manage mainframe systems, data, and costs. BMC solutions provide advanced analytics and automation to optimize costs, maximize availability, and increase staff efficiency.
To read the full 2017 BMC Mainframe Research Report, visit http://www.bmc.com/mainframesurvey
To register for the results webinar on November 15, visit http://bit.ly/2xux3kq
To read BMC blog posts about the mainframe industry, visit http://www.bmc.com/blogs/categories/mainframe/
To learn more about BMC’s mainframe solutions, including those that can help reduce MLC costs by up to 30%, achieve zero-outage maintenance, and enable staff with modern dashboard and interfaces, visit https://www.bmc.com/it-solutions/bmc-ami-automated-mainframe-intelligence.html.


1,069 respondents were surveyed online from May 16 to June 4, 2017. The survey was sent worldwide and was offered in six languages, English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, and Portuguese. Sixty-two percent of the respondents were technical professionals and managers, 34% were executives, and 4% were other.

About BMC 
BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that enable businesses to transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. Our Digital Enterprise Management solutions are designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mobile to cloud and beyond. BMC digital IT transforms 82 percent of the Fortune 500 and serves more than 10,000 customers worldwide.

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