As the end of 2013 draws near, many businesses have budgets on their minds. Most companies will run year-end numbers to determine the full scope of their investments, and analyze what sort of changes can be made to cut costs and increase profit margins. As the number crunching begins, it’s time to consider numerous variables, including those that fall under the IT department. Decisions made within the IT department have ripple effects throughout an organization, even down to which software runs on the company servers.
Strong and Reliable
IBM i has been around for decades, and while many alternative operating systems have emerged since its inception, newer does not necessarily mean better. As we explored in a recent white paper on IBM i, many of the world's top companies continue to use the operating system today. This is because "the i" has proven its worth time and time again, despite existing misconceptions that it is outdated. Research from Info-Tech shed some light on how prevalent this operating system truly is, with 39 percent of respondents indicating they were currently using the i to run Web-based programs. Furthermore, only 4 percent of those using the i reported plans to switch to a different operating system, with 64 expressing plans to continue to use IBM i on upgraded hardware. An additional 28 percent indicated that while they were not upgrading hardware, they still planned to use IBM i on existing hardware because they were happy with it.
While this research highlights the continued use of IBM i, there is one area that holds significant weight when decision makers are weighing their options and whether or not to stay on IBM i: cost.
IBM i: Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and Cost Savings
In an article by Chris Maxcer in PowerITPro, he explored how IBM i customers have developed the perspective that the operating system is future proof, quoting Infor general manager, Paul Field.
"As the biggest IBM partner with more than 16,000 customers worldwide using the platform, Infor has access to a lot of end user insight," said Field. "It is clear from this research that a lot of businesses are still reliant on IBM i, and that the platform is holding its own amongst younger technologies. The reliability, cost-effectiveness, and security of the platform combine to make it virtually future-proof at 25 years old. This is in itself quite an achievement, but even more impressive is that the platform continues to remain relevant with new updates, and investment in capabilities such as mobile or analytics."
Earlier in January of 2013, Maxcer wrote another article, citing an ITG report that found IBM i to be far less risky for enterprises as far as downtime costs are concerned. The report specifically looked at how it was significantly less costly to run IBM i compared to Windows or x86 Linux with Oracle.
ITG found that the cost of downtime due to outages was roughly 90 percent less for those using IBM i than those utilizing Windows server clusters, and approximately 71 percent less than for those running Oracle Exadata. Over the course of three years, the decreased cost of downtime saved those companies anywhere from $2.8 million to $35.3 million over those using Windows. When compared with those using Oracle Exadata, businesses saved anywhere from $700,000 to $8.6 million more.
End-of-Year Business Costs and IBM i
To put end-of-year cost analyses into perspective, consider a few realities: Businesses generally hire accountants to gather year-end numbers, which will create costs that an organization must contend with. Additionally, when those accountants utilize Excel to aggregate large quantities of data, businesses acquire the costs of programs and time spent retrieving that data.
Furthermore, manual data retrieval is inefficient, and could even open the door to errors that cause accountants to inaccurately report to executives.
The problem is that at the end of the year, organizations need their data regardless of what it takes to get it, which can often result in unnecessary expenditures. However, with a product like SEQUEL, IT managers can accelerate the time it takes to get key information to management without programming or rekeying data.
Modernization as a Means of Cutting Costs
Modernization is often sought after in IT environments as organizations contend with dramatic shifts in technologies and IT skills, but the process represents a complete overhaul of IT culture, according to Gartner.
"IT modernization represents the changes that every IT organization must face as the generations of technology, skill, and expectations are inevitably replaced by the next ones," Gartner stated. "Every enterprise must begin to prepare for the inevitable impact this will have."
As IT management teams face pressures to modernize the way that data is accessed in IBM i, as well as how it is presented to business users, it quickly becomes evident how SEQUEL can help accomplish this. While IBM i is accepted to be a stable platform with solid enterprise applications, modernization is especially difficult to accomplish using only the platform's built-in tools - this is not a fault of the operating system, merely evidence of how quickly organizational needs can shift in modern IT environments. Constraints on time and resources further complicate modernization and can lead to additional incurred costs.
A product like SEQUEL can help preserve the investment a business has already made in IBM i by enabling IT managers to modernize the environment. The IBM i white paper, mentioned at the beginning of this article, provided a great deal of additional information regarding the reasons a business should consider staying on IBM i, exploring such topics as its powerful built-in features, the enablement of smarter and more flexible work management, smart programming support, robust add-ons, automation, customizable security, high availability, and more.
"Business decision-making is increasingly dominated by a platform's total cost of ownership, and the few platforms that deliver what IBM i does can't do it without incurring significantly more expenses. Moreover, IBM i's built-in resiliency means little chance of hardware failure disrupting services - a huge relief for the bottom line." Download the Why IBM i white paper to continue reading.
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