One of the smartest initiatives I have come across, and I have been tracking IBM and the mainframe for 12 years now. By way of the Mainframe Watch Belgium site comes news that IBM is offering is customers free consulting around CICS 3.2.
Why is this move so smart? Because every customer that brings IBM in is going to learn a lot about the mainframe and SOA. They are going to find out ways to drastically reduce current mainframe workload pricing using offload processors, freeing up headroom for other initiatives. They are going to be in a far better position to lead conversations between IT and the business. This is customer-enablement that other vendors should learn from. You see, customers don’t have time to track all the optimisations you can provide. Software doesn’t install itself. What really matters is the relationship, not selling the latest product. Well done System z people. This is a really great idea and mainframe customers should put in a call asap. If you’re a mainframe hater please note that adoption of CICS 3.1 was the fastest in IBM’s history. Why? SOA. While the lower end is easy hanging fruit for you, many customers at the top end of the market are deepening their commitments to the mainframe. IBM mainframe customer running current versions of z/OS: competitors don’t waste your breath, they are not going to swap the platform out. I have said before that mainframe disciplines have a role in SOA. I have also argued IBM needs a Sandbox Slush Fund for mainframe SOA. That is not so far from what IBM is encouraging here by allocating consulting resources to some of its highest value customers.
disclosure: IBM’s mainframe division is a customer on both the hardware and softrware sides of the house.