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2020 BMC Mainframe Survey Results

BMC, a global leader celebrating 40 years of delivering IT solutions for the Autonomous Digital Enterprise, today announced results of its 15th Annual Mainframe Survey. The results show overwhelming support for mainstreaming the mainframe, new strategic priorities, and a resurgence of next generation mainframe talent.

The largest survey of its kind, this bellwether study queried over 1000 executives and practitioners on their priorities, challenges, and growth opportunities for the platform. High-level insights include:

•           90% of respondents see the mainframe as a platform for growth and long-term applications.

•           68% expect MIPS, the mainframe’s measure of computing performance, to grow.

•           63% of respondents say security and compliance were their top mainframe priorities.

•           More than half of respondents (54 percent) reported an increase in transaction volume and 47 percent reported an increase in data volumes.

“The Mainframe Survey validates that businesses see the mainframe as a critical component of the modern digital enterprise and an emerging hub for innovation,” says Stephen Elliot, Program Vice President, Management Software and DevOps, IDC. “They’re putting it to work more and more to support digital business demands as they strive to achieve greater agility and success across the enterprise.”

Top Mainframe Priorities

With mainframe enterprises competing to bring new, digital experiences to market to delight customers, the survey’s themes are resoundingly strong: Adapt, Automate, and Secure.


Responses indicated that enterprises’ need to adapt spanned several areas: 

•           New processes to keep up with digital demand.

•           Technology demands such as application development/DevOps across the mainframe; 78% of respondents want to be able to update mainframe applications more frequently than currently possible.

•           Changing workforce, as the number of next generation mainframe talent increases along with the number of women working on the platform.  


Mainframe modernization continues to play a key role in priorities among respondents with the need to implement AI and machine learning strategies jumping by 8% year over year. 


While the mainframe has a reputation of being a naturally secure platform, respondents are seeing the growing need to fortify its “walls.”  Security trumped cost optimization as the leading mainframe priority among respondents for the first time in the 15-year history of the survey.

“Early results were shared with leading industry analysts and key customers from our Mainframe Executive Council in order to validate findings with market sentiment,” states John McKenny, SVP of Mainframe Innovation and Strategy at BMC.  “These conversations further solidified the study’s findings that the platform’s positive outlook and growth is largely due to the need to create intuitive, customer-centric digital experiences. The mainframe continues to shine as innovative, agile, and secure and is a vital component to digital success.”

Workforce Demographic Shifts

The survey revealed the demographic shifts in mainframe operations, as younger, less experienced staff replaces departing senior staff, and a higher proportion of women respondents than last year.

"The IBM Z ecosystem continues to evolve to support a modern, hybrid cloud. But it's more than that, because the practitioners who run IBM Z are shifting as well to represent the modern workforce - with 40% representation from women and over one-third representation from those with less than 5 years experience on the Z platform," says Ross Mauri, General Manager, IBM Z and LinuxONE.

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