How to handle the Mainframe skills gap

It has been an interesting 12 months in the Mainframe world. 2014 saw IBM celebrating 50 years of the Mainframe and in January this year the latest incarnation of the Mainframe – the z13 was launched. Propelling Mainframe back into “cool new” technology territory the z13 has been designed specifically with the mobile economy in mind.

More good news for Mainframe emerged earlier this year from Compuware’s Global CIO Survey which delivered some positive messages around Mainframe’s role within big business:

– 88% of CIOs agree that the Mainframe will continue as a key business asset over the next decade

– 81% of CIOs believe that Mainframe technology continues to evolve

– 78% of CIOs see the Mainframe as a strategic platform that will enable innovation

As heart warming as these messages are for those involved in the Mainframe world they come with a warning for the future:

– 70% of CIOS are concerned about knowledge transfer – with few younger IT professionals heading to the Mainframe to begin their careers and life-time Mainframers approaching retirement this is a very real concern.

– Despite that though 39% of CIOs admitted that they have no specific plans for addressing the Mainframe skills shortage

Plan for change now

Managing the skills transition efficiently will be vital for large organisations to ensure they maintain their critical data effectively and keep competitive in these challenging times.

The Options:

Outsourcing

Outsourcing mainframe services is certainly an option but it does bring with it many complications. Outsourcing to a third party means that the ingrained organisational knowledge of those currently managing the system can be lost. Although the outsourcing provider is no doubt highly skilled, they don’t have that intimate knowledge of the organisation which is built up over many years.

Training

Both IBM and CA are putting huge amounts of money and effort into training the next generation of mainframe experts by running education initiatives through universities in the US. However, training university students takes time to filter through the system and we are yet to see this trend crossing over to the UK.

Access to skilled Mainframe resource

It can be difficult to access skilled Mainframe resource. Triton Consulting provide flexible resourcing options to organisations who need to supplement their Mainframe skills. With the option to purchase a block of hours, our Consultancy on Demand solution allows organisations to access key skills as and when they are required. These consultancy hours can be used for training and skills transfer; to provide specific skills where they are lacking in the team or for specific project work. Working alongside the in-house team our highly experienced consultants can enable large Mainframe users to manage their resource requirements in a highly cost effective and flexible manner.

Find out more about Consultancy on Demand

Compuware Global CIO Survey

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