InfoTech Report Disputes the Myth of the “Dying IBM i Platform”

Editor’s note (4-6-12): Post modified to remove reference to InfoTech report being released in October 2011. Could not confirm publication date, but it appears to be sometime in 2011.

If you’re interested in the current state and future potential of the IBM i platform, you’ll want to read an Info Tech report called Assess the Appropriateness of the iSeries/IBM i in My Business. This report was based on a survey performed by InfoTech and it was sponsored on the MC Press Online Web site by Connectria Hosting. I recommend reading this as it’s a pretty thorough look at where the platform is today and where it could be going. It’s also valuable for educating management on the IBM i value proposition.

Among the surprises (many of which just confirm opinions that have been known for a long time) are:

  • The platform isn’t going away and organizations still invest in IBM i (good news) but we’re unlikely to see a sudden surge in net-new installations (bad news). 64% of respondents indicated they have upgrade plans.
  • The big problem organizations struggle with on the platform is a resource issue: finding RPG programmers and system administrators (well D’UH). Managed services providers are starting to fill the gap here, however.
  • Migrating off the platform isn’t a good option because it’s complicated to change ERP systems, there are a lot of short-term costs to switching, and moving to another platform will result in a higher Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Again, something those of us in the IBM i world already knew.
  • The big surprise is that according to this survey, only 4% of respondents have plans to migrate off IBM i. This is lower than I would expect but looking at their charts, it appears that almost all of migratees were large companies. The small and midsize companies were more likely to upgrade, move to a hosting center, or just stay put.

Overall, it’s an encouraging report with the market staying strong for ISVs (especially enterprise ISVs) and InfoTech noting the familiar pattern that every IBM i shop knows: intial capital costs are higher but five-year TCO is lower.

Again, a lot of it are things we already knew, but it’s good validation to show upper management what the real value of the IBM i platform is.

You can register for and read the report here.


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About Joe Hertvik

Joe is the owner of Hertvik Business Services, a service company providing written white papers, case studies, and other marketing content to computer industry companies. He is also a contributing editor for IT Jungle and has written the Admin Alert column for the past ten years. Follow Joe Hertvik on Twitter @JoeHertvik. Email Joe for a free quote on white papers, case studies, brochures, or other marketing materials.
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