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    Top of your Game: A Mainframe Summer

    1st July 2019: As spoof sports presenter Alan Partridge once said, "It's an exciting summer of action!" For non-UK readers, Alan is the genius creation of comedian Steve Coogan, an all-too-believable caricature of real-life presenters. And what a summer 2019 is proving to be, in both sporting and mainframe terms.

  • In sports, the Fifa Women's World Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations have brought thrilling action from the football soccer pitch. The ICC Cricket Men's World Cup in the UK continues to be a bit of a rollercoaster. We've just had the European Games in Minsk, the Yankees played the Red Sox in London, and Wimbledon is still to come. These competitions showcase the best of the best, worldwide.

    To compete at this level, whatever the pursuit, you have to be top of your game. Talented, certainly, but it's all that training, experience and constant application that propels you to the top. Plus more than a dash of teamwork.

    In the mainframe world, RSM Partners is also having an "exciting summer of action". In fact, we're experiencing unprecedented levels of activity, far beyond anything we've seen before. Demand from clients across the world is greater than ever, and in two areas in particular: managed services for mainframe support and you know what's coming mainframe security.

    We all know about the skills gap and the steps being taken to train and deliver the next generation of mainframers. The cavalry is coming, we hope, but they've not ridden over the hill just yet. So demand continues to grow from organizations that want to be working at full power when it comes to their mainframe-as demanded by the business-and who know they lack the in-house skills, time and resources to do it. Managed services simply make sense: to get proven experts in infrastructure to look after their operating system, databases, and whatever else. To take the hassles away, to not only keep the lights on but actively ensure operational excellence, and enable them to concentrate on other matters.

    We've recently been awarded a five-year managed services contract by a major bank to run its mainframe operations from a systems programming perspective. Most of it will be done remotely. Like any team, in sports or business, they want to win. To be top of their game. And it's a pure managed services relationship.

    Some organizations simply need expert people, ad hoc mainframe headcount, to cope with short or longer-term staffing challenges, perhaps to address those demographic challenges of an aging workforce or for short notice/short duration focused project work.

    In today's heightened threat landscape, organizations are also concerned their current security arrangements and processes may not be up to scratch. They recognize the need for professional services in security.

    Our team recently completed a security assessment for a big international finance organization. Even before we'd delivered the final report, they had ordered GBP £1m of remediation work. And of course, security can easily cross over with managed services. We're currently chatting to a client that's keen for us to provide mainframe security engineering as a managed service.

    As in any football or soccer team, they want the best offense and defense available to them. And as any coach will tell you, that needs to be based on a strategy that's well thought through.

    Okay, I've run out of "summer of sport" metaphors and analogies for now. The other thing you need to do, if you're part of a winning team, is get on that team bus and travel to all those fixtures and tournaments. Time to grab my passport again and head off.

    An international speaker in mainframe security and technology, and a passionate advocate of all things Z, Mark Wilson heads RSM Partners' Technical and Security teams.

    For more information email: info@rsmpartners.com

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