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Mainframes, Data Management, and the 21st Century

According to a recent IBM report, more than 90 percent of all the apps that directly face customers reside on mainframe computers. Over half of all businesses plan to be digital organizations within the next couple of years, while a full 83 percent expect to be all digital within the next five years. The primary focus: applications and services. What’s driving those applications and services? Data.

The Digital Age is Here, Are You?

It didn’t take long at all for consumers to get spoiled by the conveniences of big data in their apps, and now they demand it.

Consumers have already been spoiled by big data. They are now driving change and innovation within businesses, and they are a savvy lot, educated and empowered with a voice via blogs, social media, and other ready-made digital forums. Businesses that can’t offer their data to their customers instantly, on demand, with no excuses simply lose their customers to competitors.

Data Management Isn’t Important, It’s Everything

Most of the data storage and processing power it takes to support those consumer desktop and mobile apps sits on a mainframe computer somewhere.

Data is the most valuable commodity on the planet. If you question that, ask what would happen if your bank couldn’t provide you with your balance the second you click on your mobile banking app, or what would happen if Uber couldn’t summon you a ride the second you walked out of your client’s office and headed to lunch. Data is king, queen, prince, and royal court.

Entire industries have sprung up and are prospering by offering no product other than data. Transportation companies thrive without a single car, truck, train, or ship in their inventory — the entire business is based on the data it takes to summon a vehicle for someone in need. Property rental companies survive without owning a single plot of land — the whole business is based on data about where available properties are located and who happens to be in need of such a place. Same story for social media — Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have nothing to offer except for data. Let’s review: 90 percent of this customer-serving data rests and works and plays on the mainframe computer.

The Biggest Issue Facing the Mainframe is Talent

The problem is, all this is happening at the same time that mainframe talent gets as scarce as a politician with a conscience. The biggest challenge for those with a mainframe architecture won’t be reliability or security or scalability, because the mainframe is all over that stuff. The problem will be in keeping those mainframes in operation with qualified administrators and programmers.

The next generation of mainframers will be challenged with developing better database techniques to manage unstructured data (which accounts for 90 percent of all digital data) and creating new automation techniques to keep consumer apps fast, slick, and resilient.

Is your team up for the challenge? 

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