The world of technology is changing rapidly and with it the mainframe world. Existing paradigms are breaking down and the truths that we’ve taken for granted for decades no longer apply. The old ways of doing things are not sufficient in this world of instantaneous communication, big data, mobile applications and the like. These changes are of particular note to those of us who are “seasoned” mainframe experts.
Case in point: An announcement on February 17, 2015 that BMC and Compuware were going to work together to bring an integrated IBM z Systems management solution, aimed at Mainframe cost reduction, to the marketplace. We’ve heard for years about “partnerships” between vendors which were generally nothing more than opportunities for two vendors to sell to each other’s clients in very limited cases. Most software vendors worked hard to displace the other vendor’s software as a core component of their sales strategies. There are a fixed number of Mainframes and thus a fixed number of customers.
This announcement tells us that in order for our industry to continue to survive and even thrive, partnerships are needed to provide “best in breed” end-to-end solutions. No single vendor has the best product for every conceivable function. Rather than being mortal enemies combatting for the elusive software dollar, these two vendors took the best that they each had and filled the gaps in the other vendor’s offerings to solve a problem. It’s the concept that should not be, but is, revolutionary.
One of our sales leaders always advised us to “figure out the client’s problems and provide them with solutions to those problems” rather than just selling our services. The BMC and Compuware partnership is a great example of this philosophy. As mainframe workload has evolved and the variability of that workload increased, mainframe costs (and especially IBM MLC) costs have escalated and become less predictable. This suite of tools is designed to manage this challenge with “Cost-aware workload analytics and deep application performance tuning” according to the July 7 combined press release. Think about how many challenges there are of this nature in a typical mainframe environment that cannot be adequately addressed using just one vendor’s software.
While remaining vendor-agnostic and not endorsing these, or any other specific products, the concept of vendors partnering to solve client’s problems with an integrated solution is a huge leap forward. In the press release, BMC and Compuware have said that they are in discussions on other areas where they can go to market with a joint offering. It is my hope that this is the start of a trend among mainframe software vendors. Having the ability to select from the “best of breed” products with a vendor-developed interface rather than trying to cobble something together internally to connect several vendor products has the potential to open up a whole new world to all of us.