Mainframe Outsourcing Misconception #5: Outsourcing Results in a Loss of Control over My Data and Applications

Most mainframe outsourcing arrangements do result in the transition of IT hardware from the client facility to the vendor facility.  All too often, this engenders an all-to-common fear that outsourcing equals a loss of control.

This concern, however, is not supported by the facts.  In many outsourcing arrangements, your infrastructure will be hosted in a dedicated environment, on your own or comparable equipment or in dedicated logical partitions.  You will retain full control over software levels, schedules of production, disaster recovery testing and other aspects of production just as if the applications and workload were hosted in your own environment.

Concerns about a loss of physical control of mainframe hardware are often coupled with concerns about service levels:  What vendor could run my environment as well as I can?  Closely related to this concern:  The vendor doesn’t understand my business, they are not in my industry, so how can I depend on them to deliver the agility I need?

These concerns can be readily addressed by understanding the typical outsourcing agreement.  Vendors probably can’t run your business as well as you could, but that is rarely the objective of outsourcing.  Instead, you can construct a relationship in which the vendor handles the maintenance, support and operation of infrastructure components, insulating you from the cost and complexity of the myriad decisions that go into daily IT operations, while you maintain full control over the mainframe applications and data that support your business initiatives.

A competent mainframe outsourcing vendor rarely touts expertise in their clients’ businesses.  They have deep experience in operating and maintaining infrastructure.  Their job is to keep systems operating efficiently and consistently, while performing the “grunt work” of doing upgrades, patching software, applying fixes and performing routine operational processes.  The best mainframe outsourcing vendors also bring a depth and level of technical experience and expertise that will benefit your firm in terms of better uptime and greater operational efficiency than you may have been able to deliver in your own environment.

Posted by Adrian