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Updated by Charles Bystock on 04/04/2023
mainframe outsourcing

Does outsourcing your mainframe still make sense in an era of cloud-based computing? For many companies, it does — yet building a business case for outsourcing can prove difficult. By focusing on three distinct components — current business goals, costs of inaction, and overall value — you can build a business case to communicate value clearly. Here’s how to do it:

Define your goals and objectives

The goals — and, therefore, outcomes and objectives — with outsourcing mainframes can be varied. While some companies may look to outsourcing as a cost-savings solution, an improvement for maintenance, a support for in-house staff, or an ability to expand data volume and scalability, defining the goals and objectives from the outset allows your entire team to see how mainframe outsourcing supports overall business goals.

When defining your objectives with mainframe outsourcing, address any current service issues within your proposed solutions. For example, if your organization is not currently planning to modernize your mainframe, outsourcing is your best solution for cost savings and ongoing maintenance. As you consider cost savings, contrast the costs of outsourcing vs. maintaining and upgrading your mainframes in-house. CPU and storage refresh requirements, the timing of third-party software contracts, retirement plans, and more can impact the in-house costs and make outsourcing a great solution.

If your organization hasn’t decided between modernizing your mainframe or outsourcing, consider the complexity and timeframe required for transitioning from your mainframe systems. The cost, level of disruption, and length of time to manage a transition to the cloud or other modernization can be prohibitive for many organizations. Of course, you should also keep overall business goals front and center. For businesses needing specialization at scale, “mainframe outsourcing allows organizations, as a whole, to process higher volumes of data and manage that data more effectively while also improving scalability and delivering higher improved service levels.”

Whether you’re looking to grow your mainframe environment and increase scalability or are transitioning away from your mainframe, outsourcing can help you manage the costs based on usage, eliminating capital outlays for upgrades or reducing costs as you shrink. Whatever the case for your organization, outline the goals and objectives to be achieved by outsourcing and connect them to your overall business goals.

Outline risks and cost of inaction

Once you’ve clearly defined the goals and objectives, you also must outline the cost of inaction — an often-overlooked blocker to business growth.

When it comes to technology, if you stand still, you’re losing ground. In the modern market, agility and innovation are the only ways to keep up with customer expectations and outpace competitors. As new technology begins to replace traditional mainframe systems, younger workers are not being trained on essential mainframe maintenance and updating skills. As a result, organizations not taking action now to stabilize their mainframe systems, modernize older technology, or outsource maintenance to a trusted provider risk losing valuable knowledge as their workforce retires.

As you consider the risks, keep in mind outsourcing your mainframe is less risky than completely replacing it. With an outsourcing provider, you can upgrade your current systems with no disruption to customers and lock in a trusted partner to provide scalability and security for the future. Since many mainframe replacement initiatives are more costly and time-intensive than initially planned, the potential cost of delays and disruption is much higher when replacing as opposed to outsourcing.

Define the overall value and timeline

Finally, define and outline the overall value of outsourcing and the time until the value will be demonstrated. Outsourcing offers four main benefits:

  • Cost savings. The leveraged outsourcing of scale in services delivery, personnel, continuity protection, and more through a pool of hardware, storage, tape, software, and support resources enables you to achieve broad cost reductions.
  • Expertise. As the internal workforce ages and it becomes more difficult to hire mainframe experts, a trusted provider offers continuous expertise on which you can rely.
  • Scalability. Mainframe outsourcing generally allows organizations to process higher data volumes and manage data more efficiently, thus improving scalability and supporting productivity and business growth for the future.
  • Agility. As technology continues to change rapidly, having an agile solution enables you to keep up with consumer expectations and outpace competitors.

By creating a clear outlook of objectives, risks, values, and timelines, IT leaders can clearly demonstrate the benefit of mainframe outsourcing for their organization. For a trusted partner in finding outsourcing providers or outsourcing your mainframe, connect with an expert from Windsor Group today. We’re here to make your mainframe transition seamless.