In the world of information technology, where rapid advancements are the norm, companies relying on IBM i systems often find themselves facing unique challenges when dealing with an increasingly limited pool of in-house resources.
IBM i (formerly known as AS/400), is a reliable and robust platform that has served organisations well for decades. However, as time goes by, a lack of experienced programmers for systems that run on the IBM i can pose difficulties for businesses striving to stay competitive and agile in the modern era.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the key challenges companies face when they have limited or part-time in-house IBM i resources.
Legacy Hardware & Software
One of the primary challenges companies encounter is working with legacy IBM i hardware and software. Many organisations continue to rely on older models that may no longer be supported by IBM, making it increasingly difficult to maintain and upgrade these systems.
As a result, they can experience performance bottlenecks and hardware failures, potentially leading to costly downtime and lost productivity.
Another significant obstacle is the scarcity of IBM i expertise in the job market. Skilled professionals who can manage, program, and maintain these systems are becoming increasingly rare, as many experienced programmers are talking of retirement.
Companies may find it challenging to recruit, train, and retain staff with the necessary skills to effectively manage their IBM i resources.
Knowledge of legacy IBM i systems within businesses is often in the capable hands of one individual, but not documented – then when faced with the need to replace or cover that team member without a significant handover period – this becomes a huge undertaking.
Modern businesses thrive on data integration and the ability to interact seamlessly with various technologies.
In-house IBM i resources, particularly those who have worked on one system for many years may lack the knowledge and experience required to integrate with other modern applications and platforms.
This can lead to data silos, inefficiencies, and missed opportunities for automation and streamlining business processes.
Maintaining data security and compliance is a critical aspect of IT management.
Stretched in-house IBM i resources may not have the capacity to complete these critical reviews over and above their day-to-day tasks.
This makes these systems vulnerable to security breaches, data leaks, and non-compliance issues, which can have far-reaching legal and financial consequences for businesses.
Scaleability & Performance
As companies grow and evolve, the demand for scalable, high-performance IT infrastructure becomes increasingly important.
Stretched in-house IBM i resources may struggle to continue to develop the system to meet the performance expectations of modern applications.
This can lead to productivity losses, customer dissatisfaction, and missed business opportunities.
Cost of Maintenance
Maintaining and upgrading ageing IBM i systems can be costly. The expenses associated with hardware replacements, software updates, and ongoing support can strain a company’s budget.
Many businesses must carefully balance the cost of maintaining their IBM i resources against the benefits they provide.
Companies relying on limited or ageing IBM i resources face a unique set of challenges in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven business landscape. While these systems have been the backbone of many organisations for years, it is essential to address the issues of legacy hardware and software, talent shortages, integration problems, security concerns, scalability, and maintenance costs.
To overcome these challenges, businesses can explore strategies such as migrating to newer IBM i hardware and software, investing in training and development for their IT staff, embracing modern integration solutions and ensuring robust security practices as well as bolstering their team with 3rd party development and support services.
Companies may consider engaging an external development and support partner to act as an extension of their in-house team. The system can be fully documented and knowledge of the system spread to minimise and mitigate the risk, future-proofing your business.
By addressing these issues proactively, companies can continue to leverage the power of IBM i while staying competitive and agile in the ever-evolving world of technology.
The KFA Connect team are often called upon to assist businesses in this way – to fill the gap between the in-house team’s workload and the demands of the business.
We can take on specific, manageable development projects, support tasks, reporting as well as testing services. KFA have a dedicated development and support team who ensures the smooth running of our customer’s applications and integrations. We can also provide 24/7 support when required.
Want to know more? Get in touch with our team today.
Nicki SmithKFA Connect – Sales Manager
11th October 2023