Apathy Virus

Is Your Mainframe Infected with the

Apathy Virus?

The global economy continues to run on IBM z System

mainframes—the only platform secure, stable, scalable

and efficient enough for the job.

A pernicious virus, however, is threatening to destroy the

mainframe in a way that no previous cyberthreat or

alternative platform ever has. And by bringing the

mainframe to its knees, this virus threatens the future

of just about every large corporation and government

agency on the planet.

That virus is Apathy.

A Virus Threatens Your Mainframe

Apathy settles for “good enough” instead of striving

for excellence and innovation. It fails to fully leverage

the wealth of code and data on the mainframe

in ways that substantially benefit business. It hopes

to find someone to merely care-take the mainframe as

platform veterans retire—instead of giving the next-

generation of talent the opportunity of a lifetime:

hands-on experience with the z14, the most powerful

commercial compute engine in history. For these

reasons IT leaders have to be as intentional and

aggressive in defeating this virus as they would any

other cyberthreat.

What follows are steps your organization can take to

successfully defend the mainframe and effectively

leverage its unique strengths to achieve and sustain

competitive advantage.

The Mainframe Is Still Relevant

The first step in addressing Apathy is to recognize it

exists. Yes, the mainframe is the most powerful,

reliable, scalable, secure and economical platform in

the universe, but mainframe teams have been lulled

into complacency by that superiority.

While rigorously safeguarding the iron-clad

integrity of mainframe apps and data, they have missed

the sea-change occurring in the business—the need

for rapid, adaptive innovation. Without that innovation,

the mainframe surrenders its relevance to the business.

Recognize the Problem

The next important task for IT leaders is to spearhead

a transformation of mainframe culture. To elevate their

relevance to the business, those teams must make a

fundamental collective commitment to aggressively and

proactively make all the operational changes necessary

to get back into the game.

Without this cultural transformation, those operational

changes simply will not happen.

Embrace DevOps

Agile isn’t just about working fast. It’s about rigorously

and continuously aligning development to the ever-

shifting needs of the business—even when the

business itself isn’t certain exactly what those needs are.

Mainframe development simply cannot contribute

substantially to business value if it’s not fully Agile.

Scalability, security, reliability and performance are all

great attributes but they do not mean much to the

business without true functional relevance to customer

engagement. And in today’s fast-moving markets, that

relevance can only be achieved and maintained via


Re-invest Intelligently

Too many IT shops are underinvesting in mainframe

tools because they focus more on cutting costs than

advancing mainframe business value. This is a mistake.

You cannot deliver a more vibrant and business-relevant

mainframe by settling for “good enough” tools simply

because they’re available at a discount.

The smarter approach is to invest in best-in-class

technology that enables you to get more out of your

mainframe code and MSUs. These investments will pay

for themselves many times over as you begin to bring

net-new workloads onto your revitalized, innovation

driven mainframe environment.

Attract Talent

Given the generational shift taking place in the

mainframe workforce, it is critical for IT leaders to

prioritize recruitment of next-generation talent.

Unfortunately, research reveals that 39% of CIOs have

no concrete plans in place for recruitment—and it’s

unclear how good the plans of the other 61% really are.

One thing is for sure: If your tools are clunky and non

-intuitive, you will have trouble engaging new talent, so

it’s important to combine recruitment and promotion

efforts with next-generation retooling.

Collaborate Across Platforms

Mainframe code, data and hardware increasingly act as

back-end support for multi-tier component-based

applications with mobile and/or web front-ends. So

mainframe development and operations teams must

work collaboratively with DevOps teams across other


This collaboration requires changes in mindsets and

processes. New tools can also help with cross-platform

collaboration by providing visibility across mainframe

and non-mainframe application behaviors.

Leverage Mainframe IP

Central to all of the above anti-Apathy measures is the

fact that existing mainframe application code represents

irreplaceable, high-value corporate IP (intellectual

property). Companies have developed this IP over the

years—and it is neither technically nor economically

feasible to migrate this IP to another platform.

Mainframe revitalization offers companies a

unique opportunity to reap high ROI by leveraging

and extending their mainframe-resident IP, while also

improving the economics of IT by moving net-new

workloads to the mainframe.

Maximize Benefits to the Business

Rubin Worldwide reported that mainframe-intensive

companies earn 28% more per dollar of IT infrastructure

than server-intensive ones. Their research also found

that costs at server-intensive IT shops have risen 63%

over those at mainframe-intensive ones in the past five


By combating the Apathy Virus, mainframe

professionals are doing much more than just protecting

their own interests. They are significantly contributing

to the performance of the business in a world where

success increasingly depends on the savvy, efficient

use of information technologies.

Countermeasures for a Thriving Mainframe

Future: Get Passionate!

Fortunately, Compuware prescribes three

countermeasures for neutralizing the Apathy virus

and reverse its effects:

  • Inspire provides IT leadership with a vision of the

    mainframe as a catalyst for high-return mobile,

    transactional and analytic innovation; implemented

    through a collaborative discussion with Compuware

    about your IT strategy and our innovation roadmap.

  • Simplify transforms mainframe engineers into

    needle-moving innovators by facilitating mastery of

    mainframe intellectual capital; implemented with

    innovative tools.

  • Empower delivers competitive advantage by freeing

    developers to quickly turn Big Ideas into Big Products

    for their; typically a free byproduct of Inspire and Simplify.

Get The Antedote

If you’re an IT leader with a mainframe in your

environment, chances are your organization is already

infected with mainframe Apathy—and that your other

mainframe vendors have lost their desire and means to

help. You’ll need to collaborate with your own teams,

as well as other leaders across IT, to successfully

implement the antidote.

Share your situation at compuware.com/contact-us

right away and find out what it’s like to deal with a partner

that itself is both Apathy-free and Inspiration-filled and,

uniquely ready to help you become the same way.

The future you save may be that of your own organization.