Running the REPAMA rule over mainframe SOA

Old mainframeI’ve just finished the REPAMA Segment Analysis Study and Marketing Efficacy Assessment on High Performance Middleware.  It’s just going through our buddy checking process at the moment so now I can get on with the next project.  We’re about to start looking at vendors of integration and SOA solutions on the mainframe with the REPAMA methodology.

It’s really interesting (well if you’re a marketing analyst) when you start a new project.  You have to leave a lot of your preconceptions behind.  If you’re reverse engineering the marketing strategy from a vendor’s go to market material, it’s quite wrong to form firm opinions about the results before you even start the analysis.

I mean, if I were to ask you who you think would be the typical target organisation and audience for a vendor of mainframe integration and SOA solutions, you might think that they’d be in the picture above.
New mainframeThat said, from the work I’ve done so far this image couldn’t be further from the truth.  The mainframe; the only truly secure and reliable platform for some organisations, or the incumbent legacy platform that it isn’t cost effective to move away from for other organisations.  Either way it’s a bottleneck for truly effective SOA projects.

With so much data of record and critical processes residing on the world’s mainframes, an organisation’s ability to bring the mainframe into broader integration and SOA projects in as quick, simple and cost effective way will determine the success or otherwise of many broader, non-mainframe SOA projects.

The mainframe is now at the hub of many SOA projects as is the software that makes it possible to securely integrate the mainframe world into “mainstream” enterprise computing.

Anyway the vendors on the long list so far include:

  • IBM (CICs, IMS, WebSphere, RD for System Z)
  • DataDirect’s Shadow (Progress Software)
  • GT Software’s Ivory
  • SOA Software’s SOLA
  • Hostbridge
  • Software AG
  • Microfocus
  • Rocket Software

Some of these might not make the cut as we’re aiming to look at about 4 of them in total.  I’ll keep you posted on the early findings over the next couple of weeks.

Danny Goodall

Posted in All Blog Categories, communication, go-to-market, positioning, SOA and Integration, Vendor-Related Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .


  1. And don’t forget the Return on Asset implications of mainframe integration. With trillions of dollars wroldwide invested in CICS applications alone, mainframe integration offers companies the opportunity to get more from their previously invested assets. Is it any wonder this is a key focus for many major companies, particularly with new ivestment so hard to come by?

  2. Michael, glad you’re enjoying the blog. Much of our research is commissioned by vendors and some we undertake speculatively. This piece on mainframe SOA started life as a speculative report but then a vendor contacted us and asked for restricted access to it. Therefore the results were never published externally.
    I’m happy to share a couple of conclusions though. One fascinating conclusion that I can share is a distinct difference in the way in which the some vendors define their target audiences. Some, usually the traditional mainframe tools vendors, targeted mainframe personnel within their target customers. Other vendors, realising perhaps that SOA decisions are typically made outside of the mainframe team, targeted SOA architects within their target customers’ IT organisations. The result of this is that traditional mainframe tools vendors talk and sell to their traditional contacts about SOA. The potential problem here is that strategic decisions around SOA are not necessarily made within the mainframe team.
    Secondly, there was a very significant divide between the messages that mainframe tools vendors used to approach their target audience. Some focussed on describing the long-term strategic benefits of SOA. Others however conveyed the strategic benefits but they also concentrated on very specific, tightly-focussed tactical problems that their tools solved.
    Anyway when doing this sort of marketing analysis you get a feel for where the macro differences are between vendors and these seemed like significant areas of strategic difference. Hope that makes sense.

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