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Overcoming Misconceptions to Unlock Data Potential

Mainframes and IBM i systems are still as vital as ever, with the number of transactions they process increasing every year. Today, mainframes process 90% of all credit card transactions, and 71% of the Fortune 500 trusts them to run their most critical business applications—ensuring security, reliability and scalability.

But as businesses are becoming increasingly data-driven, there is a greater need to quickly and easily access data from across the organization, prompting many to make the move to the cloud. This presents new challenges for businesses to overcome. Can a cloud-based environment provide access to all the data needed? What if the data still resides on a mainframe or IBM i system? How do businesses bridge the gap between their mainframe systems and modern cloud environments without disrupting day-to-day operations?

Mainframe modernization, rather than cloud transformation, is the way forward for ensuring integrated, and more agile, data for confident decision-making. According to Forbes, “The mainframe world will continue as it has. If anything, it will probably grow as hybrid approaches show results.” Here, we explore the benefits of mainframe modernization—and how to take advantage.

Streaming Data Enables Real-Time Insight

Heritage systems are still playing a critical role in helping organizations keep pace with modern, evolving business needs. If mainframes or IBM i systems are still serving business needs, they shouldn’t be discarded in favor of cloud transformation—particularly where it may compromise security. Plenty of companies will retain their mainframe systems moving forward, whether out of a need for computing power, security concerns or core business processes.

Streaming helps to process large amounts of data from different sources across the business, including mainframes or IBM i platforms. It connects data and drives a variety of use cases, from analytics to artificial intelligence and machine learning. Data streaming is becoming the “secret sauce” of helping businesses remain competitive within their market through real-time insights.

Break Down Data Silos and Access Data

Getting better, faster access to data and gaining greater visibility over data sets is pivotal to organizations as they strive to become data-led. The role that heritage systems play in storing, processing and managing data has never been more important. Indeed, companies are continually looking to streamline so they can improve agility and resilience.

There are several factors increasing the desire for better data accessibility and visibility—including the need to provide better customer experience, mitigate compliance risk and enhance security. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals must be considered too; in the future, the cloud will play a critical role in automating tasks that will help save on internal computing power.

To successfully use data for strategic initiatives and gain a competitive edge, businesses must overcome the limitations of data silos and unlock critical data residing on mainframe and IBM i systems. Instead of building a silo-free IT infrastructure from scratch, businesses should look for data integration solutions that can handle all the underlying complexities of their existing technology stack and work with future investments. This is important as mainframe systems can be challenging to integrate, requiring specialized knowledge. Additionally, without careful integration, new cloud data warehousing platforms will not readily ingest or understand the data that has been unlocked.

The Future of Mainframe and IBM i

Being able to access data in real time, including mainframe or IBM i data, will give organizations a critical advantage—allowing them to boost their service availability, respond to threats faster and reduce their risk of fraud. The cloud-data platforms that organizations deploy alongside their heritage platforms determine the extent of the advantages they obtain. These solutions will need to offer seamless integration so they can keep IT operations in sync with changes made on the mainframe, and they must be secure and reliable.

Purpose-built integration tools enable organizations to centralize in the best way possible, allowing them to effortlessly bridge the gap between data silos and their distributed computing platforms. As businesses become more data-driven, hybrid environments will be key for ensuring integrated—and more agile—data for confident decision-making.