A global study commissioned by CA has revealed that enterprise IT organisations are losing their experienced mainframe personnel to retirement just as their use of the mainframe is projected to grow significantly.

As a result, these organisations must adopt a variety of strategies to address a critical impending disparity between their computing requirements and their human resources.
The study, conducted by TheInfoPro in September and early October, surveyed 270 senior IT executives from Fortune 2000 companies around the world. All respondents had applications running on the mainframe platform. The study revealed that 80% of respondents have mainframe staff eligible for retirement either now or within two years.
It also revealed that mainframe spending—which had been in decline over the past two years—is now projected to rise. This is occurring as, to varying degrees, utilisation of applications currently running on the mainframe increases, new applications are developed for the mainframe, and application workloads are shifted to the mainframe from distributed systems.
This dramatic shift from decreasing to increasing spending was highlighted by the fact that 50% of respondents said that their mainframe spending was higher two years ago than it is today, while 63% said it would be higher two years from now.  Only 12% predicted that their mainframe spending would decrease over the next two years.
Respondents shared a variety of planned approaches to coping with the “graying” of their mainframe workforces at the same time as they project growth in the use of the mainframe. Top responses included the hiring and training of new talent, consolidation of mainframe vendors, and deploying solutions that make the mainframe easier to use.
Respondents were asked to rate these various approaches in terms of both how “practical” and how “helpful” they considered them to be. New hiring ranked the highest as the most potentially helpful (83%), but was not considered to be quite as practical (78%). Vendor consolidation and the deployment of more intuitive mainframe management solutions, on the other hand, received slightly higher rankings for their practicality than for their potential helpfulness.
Asked to name the management tasks they believed would suffer most from shortfalls in mainframe staffing, respondents cited security (55%), storage (47%), workload management (46%), and database management (26%).
CA commissioned the study in conjunction with its Mainframe 2.0 initiative, which it has launched to help customers successfully leverage the unique advantages of the mainframe even as they experience staffing shortfalls in the coming years.
“It is clear that enterprise IT organisations need to start taking steps now to ensure their ability to continue leveraging mainframe technology – which delivers the scalability, reliability, security, cost-efficiency, and energy-efficiency so essential to the fulfillment of the IT mission – despite the loss of their most experienced mainframe professionals,” says Andrea Lodolo, national manager of Technology Services at CA Africa. “With our Mainframe 2.0 initiative, CA is uniquely helping customers address this challenge by both streamlining mainframe ownership and maximising the total business value that the mainframe delivers.”
Complete survey results are available online at http://ca.com/mainframe/infoprostudy.