Short Story: How an MRI from CA Changed Mainframe Mike’s World

Proving the mainframe mission-critical strategy through data

A chance meeting with an old friend shows Mainframe Mike how to prove the relevance and value of the Mainframe in a modern digital enterprise. Read the story to find out what makes Mainframe Resource Intelligence (MRI) from CA a genuine Mainframe game-changer.

Commuting once again to his job as the Head of Mainframe Operations in a large enterprise, Mainframe Mike reflected on the day ahead. He took a deep breath. There would be more battling against the impact of the CIO’s cost cuts. And more skepticism from his Enterprise Architect colleagues about the role of the Mainframe in the company’s digital transformation.

Crawling through the rush hour traffic, Mike thought about how the Mainframe was misunderstood. These guys didn’t seem to understand the Mainframe or its value, and were convinced their cloud-first strategies would deliver speed and innovation at lower prices than Mainframe services.

Then there was the constant burden of proof to show that cost optimization and digital transformation really were possible with the Mainframe. True, there were challenges proving the economics of Mainframe, a shrinking skills base, and the constant balancing act between time to innovate and keeping the lights on.

‘Time for a coffee’ thought Mike, and pulled over at the next junction. Queuing to get served, Mike felt a tap on his shoulder.

“Mainframe Mike” said a voice?

“Big Iron Bob” Mike exclaimed. Standing before him was one of his oldest friends from college, who Mike hadn’t seen for years. “Still working in Mainframes?” asked Mike. “Sure am” said Bob. “Had a tough patch for a while but right now things couldn’t be better. For example – our Mainframe applications are now part of an enterprise-wide DevOps initiative and finally, with GDPR around the corner, the enterprise security guys are asking the right questions about Mainframe data. How are things going with you at your company?”

Mike shared his feelings about his predicament. “My team is still the back-bone of everything we consider mission-essential. But I need to do what you’ve done and demonstrate the Mainframe’s strategic importance to the business. After all, there’s plenty of evidence out there that underlines the Mainframe’s value. Like how much easier it is to extend and scale Mainframe services than to start from scratch. An IDC paper found that staying on Mainframe generated $300m in incremental application revenue. And we have internal studies showing that Mainframe is already Lean IT – on a per transaction basis we are way cheaper than our cloud and x86 administrators.

“So you need a fast way to actually prove the value of the Mainframe in 2018, specifically in your own business?” asked Bob. “That’s precisely the situation I was in until I turned things around, with a bit of help from CA. Did you know they can do a scan of your Mainframe environment, something like an MRI – just like your doctor would if you were sick? Or that it diagnoses the root causes of your situation and creates a prescription to help heal your pain?”

“It’s called Mainframe Resource Intelligence, or MRI,” continued Bob. “You can choose to assess different aspects of your Mainframe operations – like security, processes and systems, or the one that sounds really relevant to you, old buddy: cost optimization. It collects, understands and assesses your current hardware, software and capacity costs. It benchmarks where you are today vs. where you aspire to be – for example, 90% of enterprises that adopt dynamic capacity forecast can save at least 10% of their MLC costs and $200K per LPAR. You’ll get visibility of the root causes of your cost issues – from software redundancy to overprovisioning. And you can run small test scenarios to prove where savings are achievable. Imagine taking simple benchmarks and reports to your CIO and CFO at your next budget meeting and showing you’re achieving continuous cost optimization! Now I can show how I’m freeing resources and cash flow. So as a team, we can invest together in digital transformation. For example, I just got invited to be on a new blockchain project.”

“That sounds awesome – looks like a Mainframer is moving up in the organization”, said Mike, “but I bet this MRI thing is disruptive and takes months to complete?”

“Nope” said Bob. “The whole point of MRI is that it’s pretty much automated, with a real focus on revealing information that matters: like hidden costs, operational gaps and opportunities to transform all aspects of Mainframe delivery without a lengthy engagement or product trial. All you do is upload some data about your Mainframe environment. You get reports you can use as evidence to change perceptions of the Mainframe – especially with the CIO, Enterprise Architects and CFO. And the best part? The whole thing takes less than three to five weeks, often as little as two. Lastly – I know we’re all dealing with system programmers retiring. This is a modern solution so any of our new millennials can handle the process of getting the assessment and reports. Now tell me you’re not interested!”

Mike was intrigued, and felt truly inspired by his friend Bob’s success. He thanked Bob and said he’d be contacting CA about an Economics MRI as soon as he got to the office.

Ever feel like Mainframe Mike? To arrange your own MRI scan, visit >>


Seema leads customer marketing for CA's mainframe business unit, focused on segmentation, analytics and lifecycle…

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