Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Compuware Warns Of Mainframe Skills Shortages

An IBM mainframe computer pictured in 1964. Wikimedia Commons photo.
An IBM mainframe computer pictured in 1964. Wikimedia Commons photo.
Reporting Matt Roush
 Compuware Corp. (Nasdaq:CPWR) Monday released the results of an independent research study into mainframe use in the enterprise. Key findings from the international survey indicate that a retiring mainframe workforce is exposing enterprises to rising costs and increased business risks.
In the study of 520 CIOs, 71 percent state they are concerned that the looming mainframe skills shortage will hurt their business. Specifically, CIOs are concerned this will result in increased application risk (58 percent), reduced productivity (58 percent) and more project overruns (53 percent).
“One minute of a mainframe application outage can cost nearly $14,000 in lost revenue for the average enterprise, according to this study,” said Kris Manery, senior vice president and general manager of Compuware’s mainframe solutions business unit. “The research also confirms that these already high costs — and the associated business risks — are poised to increase because of looming skills shortages. Experienced developers are business-critical assets, which is why nearly half (43 percent) of mainframe operational expenses goes toward their salaries. The loss of expertise as they retire will lead to increased costs as inexperienced developers spend more time getting to grips with their mainframe applications. Unfortunately, this steep learning curve also means that there are more chances for error and ultimately loss of revenue through application outages.”
Some 79 percent of CIOs confirm that mainframe application outages pose a significant business risk, yet 78 percent say these applications will remain a key business asset over the next decade. However, while the study identified rising costs resulting from developer shortages, 70 percent of CIOs agree that cost cutting will expose more risks than rewards.
“Businesses must act quickly to address the problem of ‘mainframe brain drain’ or suffer a cycle of spiraling costs and mainframe outages,” Manery said. “The overall challenge for CIOs here is resource management. Savvy CIOs will streamline mainframe investments by improving the productivity of the remaining experienced developers and new entrants, as well as increasing IT efficiency.”
The study was commissioned by Compuware and conducted by the independent research company Vanson Bourne. It queried 520 CIOs in large enterprise organizations with over 1,000 employees. Specifically, the study included 100 CIOs each in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the United States along with 30 CIOs each in Italy, Benelux, Japan and Australia.
Compuware’s mainframe products help the world’s leading organizations maximize developer productivity, minimize costs and deliver better service. The products are available within the Compuware Workbench, an open development environment that features an intuitive and easy-to-use graphical user interface. The Workbench makes common mainframe tasks faster and simpler to perform for both experienced mainframers as well those new to mainframe, enabling companies to develop new services faster, more efficiently and with higher quality utilizing existing resour

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