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LzLabs moving to plug mainframe expertise gap

Pressure is mounting from various sides on those customers that are still using apps that are stuck on aging mainframes

Those customers running business critical apps on mainframes are just a few years away from a deep skills crisis that could leave them struggling. 

A looming wave of retirements means that many of those with the skills and knowledge of existing legacy mainframes are not far from leaving the business at a time when firms are keen to get access to their data as part of wider digital transformation efforts. 

LzLabs carried out research last year revealing that the vast majority of respondents (81%) were worried about the lack of mainframe skills within their IT team and many saw it as worsening in the next five years as staff exited the business. 

Customers are not only pressure to deal with the apps on mainframes before skilled staff depart but are also being directed to the cloud by business leaders no longer as impressed by the price performance being delivered by their exiting mainframes. 

LzLabs has teamed up with KPMG to get in front of more customers struggling with mainframe issues and deliver some options in terms that will deal with risk issues as well as be pitched in a business context. 

Thilo Rockmann, COO and Chairman of LzLabs, said that mainframes continued to be used by thousands of customers and had a role to play in the business, but the danger was that without the skills to unlock the apps they would become siloes at a time when users wanted to open up their data. 

“Our focus is on these apps and moving them into an environment of innovation, which is going on out there in the in the community and be a connector and a glue to bring these together,” he said. 

He added that KPMG came with the ability to spell out the dangers of doing nothing at a time when the world was digitally transforming. 

“No one will do it without a good understanding of a business case. As the business case gets better and it gets harder to get the people and the competition gets faster [it becomes clearer why the customer has to react],” he said. 

In response, Phil Crozier, partner at KPMG UK, said that it had chosen to work with a firm that had the technology to support its approach, which was about unlocking  “clients from legacy mainframe applications and data and accelerate their approach to digital transformation”. 

Recent research has indicated that from a hardware perspective there is still life in the mainframe, although the future uses might be different. Rockmann agreed that it was not time to dump the products but look to the future uses of the technology. 

Last month, Wipro and Ensono called on Forrester to help them get a clear picture of what is happening with mainframes and found that 50% of businesses are looking to expand their capabilities.

AI and Blockchain have had a favourable impact and given a fresh lease of life to mainframes, causing 50% of those European and US organisations surveyed to reveal plans to increase their use over the next couple of years, compared to just 5% who are looking to cut their use of the technology.


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