About Us Our Team Our Investments News Investor Info Blog



Dinosaurs or Cockroaches

October 26th, 2008 by Jacob Ukelson

I have been looking at the mainframe market (yes, those IT dinosaurs that were supposed to be finished in the 1990s). It turns out that plenty of the beasts are still around. Mainframes still host around 70% of the world’s business critical data. That means that even if you are using your bank’s web front-end, there is a good chance that one of the tiers in the application still resides on a mainframe.

Not only are mainframes alive and well, so is mainframe software. CICS, Cobol and so on - they are still in use at many, if not most, enterprise data centers - and they won’t being going away anytime soon. Q32008  IBM System z hardware revenues increased 25% year/ year, with double digit revenue growth in all geographies. MIPS (capacity shipped) grew by 49 percent. And thats just hardware. I couldn’t find any recent data on the mainframe eco-system-but here is a chart I found for the 2004 server market eco-system:

$50B - the market may have changed in the last four years - but I am guessing it is still an impressive number. Given the way this technology is quietly hanging around even with some many trying to kill the market - I think we should call mainframes cockroaches rather than dinosaurs.An added benefit - mainframes are actually a “greener” alternativs to using a plethora of open systems…

The new uses of these existing, legacy systems (e,g, Web Interfaces, SOA, RSS and ATOM feeds) is putting demands on the systems that they weren’t originally designed for. That along will the dwindling number of mainframe skills available - leads me to the key question of how is all this legacy infrastructure and applications going to be managed and maintained…

Stumble it!  Subscribe

2 Responses to “Dinosaurs or Cockroaches”

  1. Roeland Loggen Says:

    Great to see your blog posts on dynamic processes. As a BPM consultant I encounter knowledge intensive, collaboration intensive more or less adhoc processes more and more, and BPM thinking + BPM technology is currently falling short.
    Enabling companies to greatly improve these processes from a productivity perspective (process participants) as well as visibility/control (manager), agility and compliance is the biggest challenge for the coming years. I especially link it to the quote of Peter Drucker, who said:
    “The most important, and indeed the truly unique contribution of management in the 20th century was the 50-fold increase in the productivity of the manual worker in manufacturing. The most important contribution management needs to make in the 21st century is similarly to increase the productivity of knowledge work and the knowledge worker.”

    We are also looking into this area with research and case studies (although we call it “Human Centric Processes” and “Human Interaction Management” Input always welcome.

    Regards,
    Roeland Loggen

  2. Jacob Ukelson Says:

    Thanks for the comment, I couldn’t agree more.
    I like the term “Human Centric Processes” which I think is a good descriptive name. I know that Human Interaction Management is also used - but for me that lacks the connotation of a process (business or otherwise) with some expected output ot outcome. McKinsey has used the term “tacit interactions” for the type of work done by knowledge workers.
    So I guess “Tacit Interaction Management” is a possible name - or maybe “Tacit Interaction Management for Enterprises” or “TIME” :)

    ActionBase, one of our companies, has been working in this area for a while here in Israel - and has over 100 customers - mostly in Israel, but is now starting to move into Europe and the US. Let me know if you want some of their case studies.

Leave a Reply