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The Staying Power of IBM i: Ask ChatGPT, IBM i Users or IBM

As I mentioned in my last post, IBM i celebrates 35 years in 2023. That’s 35 years of providing an integrated platform which reliably runs businesses of all sizes—and doing it in a way that not only satisfies our customers, but it does it so well that a vast majority of our IBM i users prefer IBM i and its return on investment (ROI) to any other platform they use.
And yet, we frequently get asked to confirm that IBM i will be around in the future. Of course, it will! But we get asked. People want to know if IBM i’s staying power will continue, and why.
In case you ever find a need to explain this to someone you know—a new executive or team member, for example—I thought I’d write a post with answers from three points of view: IBM’s, IBM i users’ and a new player in the knowledge and opinion realm: ChatGPT.

ChatGPT on IBM i

Recently, I received an email from imPower Technologies, the IBM i education company headed by IBM Champion Jim Buck. In this email, one of the folks who works with him had recently asked the industry’s new “virtual superstar,” OpenAI’s ChatGPT, a simple question:
“Why is IBM i here to stay?”
Here’s what the young AI had to say in reply:
“IBM i, also known as IBM Power Systems, is a platform that combines IBM's Power Architecture-based servers with the IBM i operating system. IBM i is known for its stability, security and scalability, which makes it well-suited for enterprise-level applications and businesses that need to run mission-critical workloads. Additionally, IBM i has a large and dedicated user base, which has invested heavily in the platform and continues to rely on it for their day-to-day operations. These factors, among others, contribute to why IBM i is considered to be here to stay.”
My first reaction? That’s not bad! Imagine: Based on the information it had access to on the internet when its knowledge base was created, ChatGPT did a pretty good job figuring out some of the key points about IBM i’s value and expressing them in a very concise way.
I’m hoping it used the information we’ve written in our IBM strategy paper, the articles written about IBM i, and maybe even some of my blogs for sources, but clearly it also “learned” that the community is a big part of the continued success of IBM i. That’s impressive—and accurate.
I’d hope that people who want to understand the value and longevity of IBM i would want to hear from more than an AI, though, so let’s look at these points from a couple other points of view.

Users on IBM i

As ChatGPT correctly recognized, IBM i has a “large and dedicated user base.” So how do we ask this user base about the reasons IBM i has such staying power?
There are many ways, of course. Many members of my team and I spend quite a bit of our time interacting with customers, ISVs, partners and other users. And you all spend time with each other, too.
But there are a couple of more formal ways to find out what our users think about IBM i. We’ve collected many customer stories to help explain the ways in which our users solve business problems using the technology we integrate in IBM i. I’ve recommended you browse those before, and I’ll continue to do so. If you want to find examples of other IBM i users in your industry, or in a related industry, the IBM i Client Stories site is well organized for that. (And if any of you want to let us tell the story of how you’re using IBM i in your business, please reach out!)
Another formal means of getting user feedback is the annual survey run by Fortra (formerly HelpSystems). For nine years now, this survey has allowed the entire community to keep its finger on the pulse of our platform and its users.
I was recently part of a webcast which discussed the results of the survey. If you’re interested in hearing the analysis, the replay is available here, along with the charts with the results.
The one result I wanted to focus on here is something I mentioned above: The large majority of IBM i customers have other technology helping run their businesses, too. And these same customers recognize that IBM i—with its integration, ease of use, securability and reliability— delivers a better ROI than other platforms.

Figure 1: The ROI of IBM i

Why does IBM i have staying power? Because any business wants what IBM i can provide: a return on its investment which helps that business achieve its goals. And 95% of those who responded believe IBM i provides it better than any other platform that they use. Want to know what others they use? Look in the survey!

IBM on IBM i

I think it’s critical that people who want to understand the “staying power” of IBM i also listen to what IBM says. For well over a decade, we’ve highlighted the IBM i value proposition on the IBM i home page. This shortened link ( is easy to remember but go ahead; bookmark it.
From there, you have links to the most recent announcements, the most recent analyst reports, the IBM i customer stories, this blog and many other resources. One of the reasons IBM i can continue to provide the value it does is because IBM invests in it.
Further proof of IBM’s investment in IBM i, as well as a description of the unique IBM i value and its place in a modern IT infrastructure, can be found in the IBM i strategy and roadmap white paper. If you go to this link and enter a little information, you can get it.

Figure 2: IBM i: A new level of integrated simplicity; an executive guide to the strategy and roadmap for the IBM i integrated operating environment for IBM Power servers

But, to highlight a couple of items in that paper, here’s the roadmap of the IBM i delivery vehicles—major releases and Technology Refreshes (TRs).

Figure 3: IBM i Roadmap 

Again, for well over a decade, we have published roadmaps like this, which describe the delivery mechanisms for the IBM i operating system—not only for the releases which are currently out there, but with a promise of future deliveries. And we keep those promises!
Some people prefer a different version of the roadmap, because they prefer to see dates past the GA of the most recent release. If you’re one of those, the white paper has that, too.

Figure 4: IBM i 2035 roadmap
A roadmap with delivery and support extending past 2035 not only shows a level of commitment to the future of IBM i that few, if any, of our competitors are able to state, but it also shows that we expect the “staying power” of IBM i to continue indefinitely.
Why? Because our customers value it, and IBM values it. Our customers have better business results because of IBM i, and IBM does, too. IBM i has been a key contributor to IBM’s Power business and will continue to be one … indefinitely.
That’s staying power.