The central role of the iSeries for businesses, as well as the need to optimize its management, is constantly shown by numerous sources. According to the most recent IBM i Strategy and Roadmap, there are more than 150,000 companies worldwide utilizing the iSeries platform.
Few companies that rely on their iSeries have a clear vision of what it would look like to operate without them. As more of these businesses turn to outsourcing iSeries operations, it’s important to understand what makes outsourcing an attractive solution.
iSeries Expertise Needs
The dwindling expertise pool is among the main drivers of iSeries outsourcing, because many of these organizations are finding that their experts are retiring or plan to do so in the near future. Every business sees digital transformation as an operational imperative, so the hiring emphasis must be on the latest IT skills and talent that can best position the business moving forward.
By outsourcing iSeries management, these organizations have on-demand access to highly experienced technicians that can troubleshoot and resolve issues quickly. For many of these businesses, outsourcing to meet expertise shortages also directly benefits operational efficiency and help desk support.
iSeries Help Desk Support
From the perspective of the iSeries, businesses are in need of help desk support that understands the iSeries OS as well as the applications.
At the help desk, level 2 and 3 support technicians are kept busy with a wide variety of issues. It’s uncommon for most businesses to have skilled engineers in these positions that are also well versed in the needs of legacy systems as they relate to legacy applications. Here is where iSeries outsourcing can provide the multi-level help desk support that can troubleshoot and resolve ticket requests.
Maximizing iSeries Efficiencies
Increasing operational efficiencies goes hand in hand with management and maintenance for IT teams, which is where legacy servers and their operating systems can present challenges. Increasing runtime improvements, the addition of things like big data management, and integration of cloud services are all possible with legacy iSeries. Unfortunately, IT teams have only so much time, and other mission-critical projects take up the majority of it.
Outsourcing iSeries operations to a service provider supplies scalable support based on the project and business timetable needs. Businesses capture the benefits of increased operational agility by enabling a secure and reliable server infrastructure with a 24/7 support model. This can include any number of server and OS improvements that increase resiliency and new service integrations such as IoT, big data, and cloud options.
Upgrade and Migration Challenges
Challenges with past upgrades and migration support are prime motivating factors for outsourcing legacy AS400. Managing iSeries end-of-support with upgrades can be challenging and complicated, especially when a business hasn’t stayed current. For example, an upgrade from 7.1 to 7.3 may be fairly simple, but the larger jumps can result in problems that require a higher level of expertise to resolve.
At some point, most businesses will look at specific application migration to a different platform or the cloud. The older the application, the more challenging it will be to migrate due to the necessary coding changes. Having access to experts that have successfully completed iSeries server migrations enables the IT team to have the support they need. This prevents potential pitfalls that can cost time, money, and operational efficiency.
OPEX and CAPEX Reductions
Cost containment is always a significant part of IT projects, and iSeries outsourcing has proven to deliver that for many businesses. This can be seen in reductions for both OPEX and CAPEX by eliminating the need for hardware, maintenance and upgrades, physical space, and related overhead costs. The ROI of strategic IT staffing via outsourcing can make a major difference in labor costs associated with in-house iSeries function.
Escalating staff hours, as well as the high costs of bringing iSeries experts in-house, can be eliminated with outsourced support. The outsourcing of iSeries operations can adapt to a wide variety of needs for businesses across sectors. These experts can more easily follow best practices and keep up with regulatory, compliance, and security issues.
This is in addition to decreasing management costs while maintaining peak performance for your iSeries and AS/400 environments. By first assessing the needs of the business, this approach can help your company achieve overall strategic goals and implementation tactics that position the business for operational excellence.