SHARE St. Louis | Compuware | Mainframe Culture
August 9, 2018 Workforce

We’re Talking Mainframe DevOps and KPIs at SHARE St. Louis

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In the years it has taken many business leaders to rediscover the value of the mainframe, a thriving community of IT professionals dedicated to the platform has been working hard to ensure it continues as the most reliable, available, secure system of record for processing mission-critical applications and data at their organizations.

The semiannual conference SHARE has long been the main point of connection for these mainframe artisans, who work with the same platform across an array of industries and contexts, to share their knowledge. This has helped drive the success and innovation of the modern mainframe platform organizations rely on today.

Many of our own mainframe experts—some who have been attending SHARE for decades—continue to attend and present on a range of relevant topics, from application architecture development to recruiting the next generation to driving enterprise DevOps and more.

This year, two of our experts, Product Managers Spencer Hallman and Bill Mackey, are covering new ground mainframe shops haven’t traditionally focused on but are beginning to more: mainframe DevOps and KPIs.

Compuware SHARE Sessions

We spoke with Spencer and Bill to hear their thoughts on SHARE, the state of the mainframe and what SHARE attendees can expect from their sessions on mainframe DevOps and KPIs as well as other topics their speaking on. Here’s what they had to say.

Spencer Hallman, Bill Mackey, Mainframe DevOps and KPIs

Spencer and Bill caught in a rare moment of reflection as they work hard contemplating the direction of Compuware products

Why do you think SHARE is important today?

SH: Mainframe experts are retiring, and this is their way of sharing their knowledge with next-gens that are coming in and trying to learn the mainframe. There’s only so much you can learn in a class, and it’s the type of information available at SHARE that’s invaluable.

BH: And it’s really the only conference that focuses solely on the mainframe, at least in North America.

Along with the workforce shift, what else is changing about the mainframe?

SH: I think there are a lot of people trying to make the mainframe look like every other platform. It’s basically almost come down to survival. If you don’t look like everything else, if you’re stuck on the “green screen,” you’re going to end up in the dustbin of history.

BM: We’re also leading the way on mainframe DevOps and using KPIs and Agile on the mainframe. We’re out in front of most of our customers on this and they’re looking for some direction in this area.

What information around DevOps and KPIs are you talking about at SHARE?

BM: Our main sessions—I’m doing part one and Spencer is doing part two—are around mainframe KPIs. So, my session’s going to be more around the need for measuring KPIs on the mainframe to improve DevOps processes, based on the results of a study we commissioned with Forrester Consulting.

SH: I’ll delve into some details on the KPIs, talking about how we’ve been into shops and discovered which KPIs customers are landing on and why they’re important.

BM: And SHARE has decided to record these sessions based on the interest in them, so you can watch them even if you can’t physically attend the conference in St. Louis.

How are customers responding to discussions around KPIs right now?

BM: It’s resonating with customers. If continuous improvement is something you’re embracing, which is an Agile tenet, then this is how you’re going to be able to do it. Without measurement, you’re just guessing, it’s just gut-feel like it always has been. Now you’re going to be able to say, “I’m three percent better than I was last month, and I know I made these changes. So, I can expect to be three percent better if I continue them.”

What else are you talking about at SHARE?

SH: I’m presenting with Brenda Tabe (Compuware) and Kelly Vogt (Compuware) about getting ready for country multiplex pricing. Customers at some point may decide they want to go to country multiplex. It’s a way for IBM to straighten out a lot of pricing and allows customers to grow their mainframe at a lower cost rate than they would have under the old pricing. We’ll be talking about certain things, if you do them right, that can help you save money.

BH: I’m doing the IDE Shootout, basically talking about using a modern IDE versus ISPF and what that brings to the table. Essentially, I’m showing Topaz Workbench. I’m going to be bringing a unique flare to my presentation compared to what we’ve done in past IDE Shootouts, a completely new format that has never been used in one of these. That’s all I’ll say.

Are there any SHARE sessions or tracks you’re looking forward to?

SH: The keynote’s always interesting. In the past I’ve focused on anything to do with performance. This year I’ll be looking for any DevOps sessions. Since I’m also the Compuware ThruPut Manager product manager, I’ll also be looking to attend sessions around IBM Pricing updates.

BH: I’m really looking forward to seeing our colleagues’ presentations. One session in particular is Compuware VP of Product Development David Rizzo’s. He’s talking with several of our next-gen mainframers in a roundtable about recruiting and training millennials, something Compuware has been really focused on in recent years and something we’re helping a lot of our customers do well with now.

John Crossno, our Product Manager for Compuware Application Audit, is doing a great session around data privacy and the insider threat. He always does a good job explaining that, and it’s an extremely relevant topic right now that a lot of organizations are focused on, so I think that’s one people will want to check out, too.

Visit Us at SHARE St. Louis

You can find more details on Compuware SHARE sessions here. If you’re attending, make sure you stop by booth #511 to chat with us. Whether it’s a question about our company and products or what true DevOps means for the mainframe, we’ll have someone ready to share their knowledge with you.

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Mike Siemasz

Technology Writer at Compuware
Mike Siemasz formerly served Content Strategist and Technology Writer, reporting on culture, processes and tools in relation to DevOps and the mainframe.