Mainframes

Enhancing business value with IT operations on IBM Z

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Business leaders sometimes think of IT operations as little more than a team with a set of processes and tools to “keep the lights on.” IT is expected to maintain 100 percent uptime on the lowest budget possible in the face of increasing complexity. Of course, everyone recognizes the vital importance of strong IT operations to modern business – ask a financial services CIO how quickly they’d be in the news if their platform went down on a busy trading day, or a retail CIO about the impact of a site outage on Black Friday. IT operations can add more value to their businesses, however, with a few shifts in thinking and approach.

Velocity of change

When your job is on the line if an outage occurs, change can feel like your number one enemy. If the system is running perfectly today and we don’t make any changes, then the odds are good that it will be running perfectly tomorrow, right?

This mentality makes IT operations the enemy of the rest of the business. An IT operations team that can’t support a high velocity of change hurts the competitiveness of the entire organization. Today’s enterprise is expected to be more nimble than ever, constantly adding new APIs, apps and capacity. To add value to the business, IT operations teams must embrace the velocity of this change instead of fighting against it. Part of this is a shift in mentality, but to really embrace change, IT operations teams also need new tools and processes. For example, new analytics and machine learning capabilities are now able to find those needles in a haystack that might be missed in the face of the ever-growing onslaught of operations data.

Complexity of hybrid

In addition to the velocity of change, IT operations teams are also dealing with the complexity introduced by hybrid infrastructures. Today’s applications span platforms ranging from mobile devices to cloud infrastructure to on premises. IBM Z is often the critical system of record for these applications, and any comprehensive approach to IT operations must consider IBM Z along with the rest of the hardware. For too long, IBM Z has often been a “black box” to most of the business – transactions go in and almost always come out. But when there are issues, most of the organization has zero visibility and must depend on subject matter experts.

Silos of experts

The teams that are responsible for operating different platforms are often organized into silos based on their platform expertise. To some degree, this is necessary, but for modern IT operations teams dealing with a huge velocity of change and very complex hybrid apps, teams based around silos and dependent on institutional knowledge are bound to fail. It is still critical to have platform expertise, but that must be combined with enterprise integration to allow teams to work effectively across silos.

By embracing change, embracing a hybrid approach and leveraging analytics, IT operations teams can add significant value to their organizations. We invite you to register for our upcoming two-day webinar series “IBM Z Leadership in IT Operations” to learn more about how to make this leap. Register for day 1 here and for day 2 here.

Director of Offering Management, IBM z Systems Software

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