DETROIT (WWJ) — A new survey of chief information officers by Compuware Corp. (Nasdaq:CPWR) shows that mobile technology is increasing complexity, usage and costs of mainframe applications. And as a result, companies are finding it more difficult to isolate and fix problems.

Nearly 90 percent of CIOs said they are using outdated transaction monitoring practices that don’t provide visibility into how distributed and mainframe applications interact. In addition, IT staff are spending needless time in “war rooms” trying to resolve complex application issues they can’t see, increasing the likelihood that if problems persist, brand reputations — and bottom lines — suffer.

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“The survey results paint a picture of what IT departments have to cope with on a day-to-day basis,” said Kris Manery, senior vice president and general manager at mainframe solutions at Compuware. “The findings showed that more than half of customer-facing and business-critical applications are dependent on the mainframe. At the same time, 68 percent of CIOs felt distributed application developers are unaware of the impact they have on the mainframe environment. That is cause for concern as a poorly optimized application interacting with the mainframe will drive up MIPS (Million Instructions Per Second) costs unnecessarily. Those costs could be drastically reduced if developers had visibility into how their code was impacting the mainframe.”

Distributed applications are also increasing mainframe usage, as well as increasing complexity and risk into the mainframe environment, also making it more difficult to manage. Developers unfamiliar with the mainframe are often not optimizing code, causing inefficiencies to creep through. As a result, the computer power needed to deliver applications, or MIPS consumption, is escalating. In addition, IT teams are under more pressure to deliver high-performing applications, as slow-downs or failures directly impact revenue, brand and productivity.

The survey revealed many issues, including the following:
• Over half (55 percent) of enterprise applications call upon the mainframe to complete transactions, yet the majority of distributed application developers today have limited understanding of the mainframe. Many CIOs believe this lack of knowledge is leading to inefficient mainframe access.
• 89 percent of CIOs said mainframe workloads are increasing and becoming more varied. According to their estimates, distributed applications have produced a 44 percent increase in workload over the past five years.
• 87 percent of CIOs believe the complexity of enterprise applications is creating new risks in relation to mainframe application performance.
• 91 percent said new customer-facing applications are accessing the mainframe. Consequently, performance expectations have increased, leading to mounting concerns about lost revenues (48 percent), loss of employee productivity (47 percent) and brand/reputation damage (43 percent).

The survey also showed companies are still using outdated silo-focused methods to monitor performance and are often unaware there is a problem until it starts impacting users. Yet added complexity is making it increasingly difficult to find and isolate the cause of issues, making problem resolution slower, despite added pressure from the business for technology to perform well.

The survey addressed these new complexities and how they impact business:
• 74 percent of CIOs think the added complexity of applications working across distributed and mainframe environments is making problem resolution take longer.
• 75 percent of CIOs are being pressured to reduce mean time to resolution on application performance problems.
• 89 percent of companies are still relying on aggregate data or averages to monitor performance of their IT.
• 79 percent have no visibility of the actual end-user experience and 63 percent of companies are often unaware of performance problems until calls start coming in to the help desk.
• 79 percent of CIOs say there is a war room situation in their organization on a monthly basis; more than half (52 percent) having one at least once a week; and 9 percent daily. On average, nine people are involved in these war rooms.

“New problems require new solutions,” said Manery. “The interconnected nature of the enterprise application environment needs to be managed in an integrated way. If IT is constantly tied up trying to solve problems, it has a ripple effect across the business, delaying projects and holding back innovation. Over time this makes it harder for businesses to compete and companies lose their competitive edge. Yet by moving from a reactive to a proactive approach to identifying and rectifying performance issues before they turn into problems for end-users, companies can deliver time and resources back to the business to invest in more revenue-generating activities.”

Commissioned by Compuware and conducted by independent research company Vanson Bourne, the survey was administered to 350 CIOs at large companies covering a cross-section of vertical markets in Australia, Benelux, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.


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