Whether it’s AS/400, iSeries, or IBMi, tens of thousands of businesses count on the robust reliability of the platform and plan to continue using it for years to come. Changing demographics and retirement are shrinking the talent pool, making support for these core business platforms more difficult each year. As a result, over 57% of organizations now run their IBMi infrastructure fully unattended in 2019, using automation to remove as much human involvement as possible.
Yet it’s impossible to fully remove the human element. As a result, organizations must answer the question: How will you manage and maintain mission-critical IBMi infrastructure going forward?
Is IBMi still relevant?
The answer is a resounding yes. Over 100,000 companies still run some version of IBMi to run their most critical applications, many of which are developed in-house. Additionally, only 1.3 percent of IBMi users report they will be migrating away from the platform within five years and 43 percent of those surveyed say they run 76-100 percent of their core business applications on IBMi. In fact, 24 percent of those surveyed plan to increase their IBMi footprint in the future.
The numbers show that the platform has staying power and will likely remain a sizeable presence in the IT marketplace.
What options do you have?
As when any talented resource leaves, the organization must choose how to address their departure.
Do you look to hire a replacement? In this scenario, we already know that the talent pool is shrinking. You’ll most likely be investing more for a replacement resource; one that may not be around very long and may become increasingly expensive, like what’s happening to mainframe support talent today.
Do you begin migrating applications? This could take time, which your business might not have. It might be prohibitively expensive or cause too much disruption at a critical moment for the business.
This leaves a third option, one that we see many of our customers choosing—outsourcing.
Making the Case for Outsourcing your IBMi Staffing
Outsourcing can be a powerful tool. What can you gain by outsourcing your IBMi staffing?
- Focus on core functions: You’ll be able to concentrate on your core business and align internal resources to more strategic growth areas of your business.
- Gain access to expert talent and knowledge: Outsourcing to a partner with IBMi expertise can help you fill the gaps when your IBMi talent leaves. The right strategic partner will most likely give you access to a seasoned professional with extensive knowledge around IBMi. Depending on how you are currently using your IBMi, they might even be able to expand the role IBMi plays in your business.
- Reduce or control costs: Bringing on a new employee represents a large investment. Recruiters typically charge a 20-30 percent premium; that’s on top of the salary and benefits you will be paying. If you decide to try and recruit new IBMi talent yourself, there are significant resources that are required—the time needed to screen and interview prospective employees as well as the cost of advertising the position and running background checks. The right strategic partner will most likely be better equipped to attract and retain IBMi talent. Outsourcing means you only have to consider a single, fixed monthly cost.
Benefits Beyond the Access to IBMi Talent
Service providers who can manage IBMi also have the tools needed to automate maintenance tasks and a more expansive understanding of practices and trends across industries that you’d have difficulty replicating. Managed service providers such as Micro Strategies have seen the needs of the industry change and have developed new offerings to bring the tools, business models, and processes that have been benefiting the x86 world to IBM POWER.
Gone are the days of needing regularly scheduled health checks, often conducted on-site by a visiting technician. Modern tools and a global staff allow managed service providers to continuously monitor IBM equipment 24/7/365. A failed job no longer must wait until the next morning to get addressed. Now you can know when capacity is running low and gain the runway you need to budget and plan for future expenses.
How Can You Prepare?
Preparing for retiring talent requires planning but the right outsourcing partner should be able to help guide your efforts while keeping your business goals and needs in mind. For example, Micro Strategies is currently helping a defense contractor navigate the retirement of their sole IBMi resource, seamlessly transferring responsibilities to keep their IBMi system running while keeping the contractor’s in-house estimating software working and protected.
If you’re still uncomfortable with outsourcing, you’ll find powerful questions you can ask here to make sure the organization is the right partner for you.
Finding experienced IBMi professionals can be a challenge in today’s market. An increasing percentage of talent is retiring and IBMi skill sets are dwindling. Partnering with a strategic IBMi partner can provide multiple benefits from allowing you to gain access to the expertise you need to saving you time and reducing costs.
Micro Strategies has been helping businesses deploy and manage IBMi for over 15 years. Our team of experienced professionals can help organizations like yours manage, operate and maximize the value of their IBMi systems. Contact us and let us help you prepare for the future.