As leaders look to the next year, planning and predictions have taken on a whole new meaning in a post-pandemic world. With so many unknowns in 2021, how can anyone claim to know what is coming with confidence?
However, if 2020 taught us nothing else, it is that a major and invisible disruption results in a certainty: companies must be more responsive. The pandemic has shed bright and unflattering light on where businesses need to upgrade their IT infrastructure, both to meet current challenges and to become a modern business. Despite cloud adoption, resilience and business continuity gradually fell to the bottom of companies’ infrastructure to-do lists in recent years. Now, companies are catching up to seize the future that has come to them, a few years earlier.
While 2021 feels largely unexplored, there are a few trends that are sure to define this year’s plans and investments. Companies that take advantage of these trends will position themselves not only to be competitive and stronger than ever, but to respond when the next disruption arrives.
Enhanced mainframe recruitment and retention
We have witnessed the mainframe skills gap widening in recent years. As more mainframe professionals retire, taking their knowledge with them, very little emphasis has been placed on allowing emerging professionals to step in. Companies must recalibrate, the mainframe will not disappear, and the workforce must change. Mainframe spending continues to grow at over 3% annually, and more than 50% of organizations in various industries – financial services, insurance, public sector, and more – say they are running more business-critical applications than ever before.
To fill these vacant positions with new talent, companies must adjust their focus to the mainframe. Emerging IT professionals and college graduates don’t want to work on outdated interfaces. They prefer interfaces that are intuitive and allow for click and drag. They want to work for a company with a highly collaborative and communicative culture, as well as modern processes and tools like DevOps and related toolchains. DevOps enables a culture of collaboration, reduces silos, automates for efficiency, and yes, it can be applied to the mainframe. Companies that modernize the mainframe and related operations will close the skills gap in 2021 and usher in a new wave of innovation.
A call for COBOL programmers
COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language) is not a dead programming language, far from it. A 2018 report for the Social Security Administration found that the administration maintained more than 60 million COBOL lines. In fact, many government agencies rely on COBOL programs, but, no wonder, there are very few programmers to tackle them. The lack of COBOL programmers has been adding stress to the mainframe, especially for government agencies, which will only increase in the next six to eight months.
COBOL development is not inherently the problem – most IT professionals who can code Python can learn COBOL. The biggest problem is understanding how the programs work and what they are doing. It requires a person who has an understanding of the application and extensive tribal knowledge. The second issue is the guarantee of good quality. Many companies lack the ability to test applications and make sure nothing is at risk of breaking. COBOL coders need an easy way to digest 10,000 lines of code, break it down, and understand it. They need the right tools to avoid working excessive hours, fight rampant inefficiency, and risk project failure. With these tools, companies can approach COBOL programs in a way that is manageable for people new to and experienced with COBOL.
A shift towards value stream management
As companies work to better align the business and IT aspects of the business, including the adoption of DevOps and agile, value stream management is taking center stage. Until recently, most organizations focused on workload scheduling and automation, where they could automate certain parts of a system and schedule related jobs. However, workload automation solutions no longer fully meet the needs of most businesses as IT moves towards DevOps and teams want to move faster and require more visibility as they orchestrate automations across multiple systems. , technologies and platforms.
With value stream management, companies go one step beyond automating a particular “job” to orchestrate the automation of multiple jobs and tasks, across multiple applications and systems, to optimize a process or value stream. Today, many value streams are “in the dark”, manually managed by resources focused on ensuring a job runs to completion. With orchestration, companies can design and visualize their value streams, create workflows that tie them together, and collect metrics to determine where improvements can be made. This visibility will allow companies to deliver value faster and innovate faster – key benefits to becoming a more responsive business. This orchestration helps eliminate silos and create greater transparency, enabling IT professionals to find problems and eliminate bottlenecks more quickly. Companies can even organize a DevOps toolchain so that they can initiate code creation and orchestrate its delivery to meet demands.
The acquisition of hyperautomation
What is the difference between automation and hyper-automation? According to Gartner, hyper-automation applies advanced technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and more to enable automation of virtually any repetitive task. In the age of efficiency and productivity, it’s not hard to see why this trend is taking off.
The pandemic highlighted several areas within the company that would benefit from hyper-automation. For example, many companies implement new workflows for tracking COVID-19. HR departments need to monitor which employees are physically safe, which are not, and what their IT needs are, especially with a remote workforce. While many companies were once reluctant to dabble in workflow automation with their content services solutions, regardless of value stream management, COVID-19 has forced businesses, and specifically HR , to re-evaluate where they need automation capabilities, especially with additional processes added by the pandemic. .
Automation will also become increasingly relevant as companies implement DevOps across the organization, especially when integrating the mainframe into the DevOps toolchain. Through hyper-automation, companies can integrate tools that enable continuous delivery and bring processes to a modern culture.
No matter how 2021 unfolds, the focus for most companies will be to evolve and learn from the last # disruption and prepare for the next. #respectdata
No matter how 2021 unfolds, the focus of most companies will be to evolve and learn from the latest disruption and prepare for the next. Modernizing the IT infrastructure is not about putting on fancy bells and whistles to impress customers or stakeholders, nor is it about promoting DevOps programs, hyper-automation, or incorporating next-generation approaches like value stream management. These trends are significant, impactful, and mandatory changes that companies must make to keep their business afloat. Those bets, which increase every year, are true.