Rightsizing Your Mainframe Report Viewing & Archiving Solution: When to Begin?
As the online report management market space evolved along the continuum from Specialty Product towards Commodity Product, the relative costs have adjusted downward accordingly. The result is many enterprise organizations using IBM z/OS enterprise mainframe infrastructures are still paying Specialty Product pricing and maintenance fees for legacy products such as CA-View and ASG / View Direct even though the market space now includes more cost-effective, viable solutions.
Many of these organizations know they can save 25% to over 50% of their annual license maintenance fee by rightsizing to a more economical solution such as Software Engineering of America’s (SEA’s) product Total Report Management System (TRMS). The roadblocks to realizing these significant savings include the typical software implementation/conversion concerns
- Cost of conversion in time and money; overall ROI
- Concerns of unforeseen issues extending the conversion effort
- Risk of service interruption during the conversion
- Priorities / resources needed that won’t be available for other activities/projects
- Education and organizational change.
Let’s discuss each of these topics individually:
Cost of conversion in time and money; overall ROI
It must be economically compelling to commit to a conversion of any enterprise software application. The Return on Investment (ROI) must be almost ‘guaranteed’ to take the risk. Further, the ROI typically must be realized within 2 years to be considered. Most organizations won’t spend $100K to save $20K per year; a 5-year ROI. However, spending $200K to save $200K annually is a ‘no brainer’ assuming the ROI is in ‘hard dollar’ savings. Regarding a conversion from legacy report management tools such as CA-View or ASG View / Direct, both of which are still charging ‘Specialty Pricing’, to a more modernly-priced solution such as TRMS, the ROI is in hard dollars in terms of the annual maintenance fee differential; And SEA charges no additional fees for their conversion services, so the migration costs have significantly less impact on time to ROI.
Concerns of unforeseen issues extending the conversion effort.
The keys to mitigating the risk of a conversion debacle can be separated into the following areas:
Automation – The new vendor must be able to automate the conversion of all the report and recipient definitions from the old tool. A typical enterprise may have thousands of report configurations that need to be converted to the new tool. Partnering with a vendor such as SEA (and their TRMS tool) can ensure that the report configurations will be automatically converted in a very short (1-2 week) time frame, mitigating much of the risk of project overruns.
Methodology & Expertise -SEA specializes in converting from the expensive legacy solutions to TRMS using a standard methodology and experienced professional services expertise to ensure a successful conversion in a defined time frame. There are two key aspects to this methodology that are critical to a successful conversion ‘on time and on budget’.
After the report definitions are automatically converted, the new reports are accumulated into both the old tool and TRMS, in parallel. Within a period of weeks, the critical mass of current reports is in TRMS. At the appropriate time, the educational aspect of the conversion begins to teach users to use the new solution. This methodology also provides ample opportunity to validate the TRMS active report repository configuration via a spot check comparison of reports in both tools.
SEA has a proven methodology to address archived reports. Most organizations have hundreds of thousands to several million archived reports. The SEA methodology involves restoring the archived reports, retaining their meta-data of when they were originally created / archived, and moving those reports into the TRMS archive using the correct attributes. This is the most time-intensive portion of the conversion, but is often somewhat mitigated by taking the opportunity to clean up the archive of obsolete reports. SEA helped one client convert 800,000 archived reports while cleaning up an additional 400,000 obsolete reports from the archives. Fully addressing all archived reports is typically a 2-3-month effort, depending on the size of the archive.
Risk of service interruption during the conversion – Using the SEA methodology that includes the parallel capture of new reports into both the old tool and TRMS ensures continuity of service during the conversion. Since both tools are current simultaneously during the core of the conversion, the risk of service interruption is greatly minimized.
Priorities / resources needed that won’t be available for other activities/projects – Vendor expertise and vendor skilled professional services are critical. We all have more projects than we have time and manpower. Partnering with a vendor with a proven methodology, and the professional services expertise to take a lead role in doing the conversion, means your organization can realize the savings of rightsizing your online report distribution and archiving solution while not having a major impact on the projects already in the pipeline.
Education and organizational change – A major aspect of any software conversion is reeducation. SEA professional services personnel are experts at defining and executing educational programs to train all users on the use of the TRMS standard mainframe interfaces (TSO/ISPF, VTAM and CICS) and popular Internet browsers to view/manage their reports.
Summary – Most companies using legacy online report viewing/archiving tools such as tools from CA or ASG Technologies are paying a premium for this service. Significant software maintenance fee savings can be realized by rightsizing to an appropriate solution such as TRMS. SEA has the methodologies and professional services expertise to ensure a fast and cost-effective conversion with no interruption in service and minimal impact on other top projects.