Reducing costs and modernizing mainframe environments

A number of recent trends have prompted companies to start looking for appropriate mainframe environment alternatives. Firstly, operating costs look increasingly expensive when compared to alternative open platforms. Mainframe environments also greatly restrict the use of open source technologies, while there is a growing shortage of mainframe specialists on the job market. Last but not least, the dependence on one mainframe supplier further enhances the pressing need of companies to revisit their mainframe strategy.

A thorough analysis is key when modernizing a company’s mainframe environment becomes a potential strategic option. This analysis examines various aspects of the set-up, like the terms of existing ESSO (Enterprise Software and Service Option) or OIO (Open Infrastructure Offering) contracts, the size and complexity of the application portfolio, the kind of licenses used, etc. The results add to the assessment whether a modernization should rewrite existing applications (re-design) or whether it is more appropriate transferring the application code 1:1 to a new platform (re-hosting).

In the past, numerous re-hosting projects have successfully transferred “mission-critical” applications to open source platforms, whilst maintaining manageable and controllable risks. Analogous to any critical engineering venture, the success is largely determined by the quality and structure of the project planning phase.

As a management consultancy with a focus on IT-management and the financial industry, METIS has gathered profound industry insights about the challenges that an efficient and effective modernization of mainframe environments entails. Our methodology, project experience and domain know-how helped us to serve our clients in all phases of revisiting their mainframe strategy:

  • Basic and contract analysis: By analyzing the mainframe’s cost structure, we establish transparency over operational costs. Simultaneously, we examine the entire application portfolio to determine modernization suitability on the application level. An analysis of current contracts (mostly ESSO-contracts) compares mainframe costs with given benchmarks and highlights potential approaches to optimize license cost.
  • Request for Proposal (RFP): A technical analysis of selected applications enables us to develop a detailed RFP-document reflecting the provider’s data requirements. That specific RFP-document will allow for an efficient and effective RFP-process, which we will run at the client’s request as well.
  • Feasibility and profitability analysis: Submitted offers will be analyzed, including an assessment of risks and opportunities involved. A structured analysis allows for selecting an appropriate modernization partner and calculation of the business case. The result is a clear assessment of feasibility and financial benefits of the project.
  • Proof of Concept: A narrowly defined proof of concept using the selected partner’s proposed solution will put the technology to a practical test confirming the approach and thus reducing project risk.

These four modules together allow for a deliberate fact based management decision about the company’s mainframe modernization strategy.

For further infor­mation please do not hesitate to contact:

Dr. Thomas Ruppelt
Phone:          +49 89-520389-27
Telefax:        +49 89-520389-29