In today’s fast-paced and rapidly evolving business ecosystem, managing an operating system or the applications running on it should be a business leader’s last concern. IBM i is an environment that integrates an operating system with the database, virtualization layer, application server, and transactional system. The reliability and security of this environment makes it possible for businesses to reduce system downtime and technical support costs, as well as improve frontline task workers’ productivity.
To better understand the benefits, costs, and risks associated with this investment, Forrester interviewed four customers with experience using IBM i. For the purposes of this study, Forrester aggregated the experiences of the interviewed customers and combined the results into a single composite organization. Prior to using IBM i, the customers used a diverse number of platforms. These solutions left customers with multiple siloed systems and applications to manage, leading to disruptive and expensive downtime, exorbitant administration costs, and inefficient operations.
With an investment in IBM i, the customers were able to integrate their operating systems with the database, virtualization layer, transactional system, and other operational applications. Key results from the investment included reduced system downtime cost, reduced system admin cost, and the elimination of manual tasks through IBM i’s automation, which improved the productivity of business unit employees.
Reduced system downtime savings of about $530K.
Interviewees reported a reduction in the number of times they experienced downtime compared to other systems used in the past. IBM i eliminated about four instances of downtime annually. These usually lasted about 30 minutes on average at a cost of about $125K per event.
Reduced technical support cost by over $255K.
Because IBM i is an integrated platform, it allows technical support teams to focus on other systems and be more proactive. It combined functions, such as systems and database administration, and reduced technical support hours by 33%. The composite organization goes from 6,240 hours of system technical support per year before IBM i to 4,160 hours after this environment is implemented.
Before choosing IBM i, the interviewees’ organizations struggled with common challenges, including:
Operations disruptions due to system downtime.
As often as every week, systems would experience unplanned downtime when demand surged. This caused a loss in revenue and, in some cases, loss of data that hindered operations. Interviewees wanted an environment that could scale rapidly to meet demand at a short notice, cutting down on these operation disruptions.
Siloed systems that did not communicate well with each other.
The interviewed customers had to employ additional staff to manage these independent systems. Rather than focusing on the business, decision-makers had to spend excessive time managing technology to ensure that FTEs working on siloed systems and applications could collaborate efficiently.
Many repetitive business processes like invoicing, data backups, and imaging were being done manually and cost thousands of employee hours. Business leaders wanted technology that could help automate repetitive tasks, making them easier to replicate and scale quickly as their businesses grew.
Business Benefits of IBM i
Reduced System Downtime Cost
Interviewees explained that downtime on previous systems was a major driver for their organization’s transition to IBM i. One company president said, “If we take that last system that we brought in, that was corrupting at least once a week if not twice a week. During the corruption, we lost all activity on it. We had to get everybody off for at least an hour, rebuild it, get it back online. Certainly at least once a week and often two or three times towards the end when we would have unexpected downtime on that system that would stop the business from operating correctly.” On average, interviewees reported losing about $125K each hour a system was down.
Forrester assumes downtime of 30 minutes each quarter. Interviewed customers reported downtime that ranged from a few minutes to outages lasting over two hours. They explained that the types of applications, business demands on those applications, and the skills of the admins influenced this range. The interviewed customers also reported costs ranging from $13K per hour for smaller organizations to $1 million per hour for larger companies. With these numbers in mind, Forrester assumes an hourly cost of $125K for downtime per unplanned incident.
Reduced Technical Support Cost
Interviewed customers employed various admins to run their previous environments, including systems admins and database admins. With the integrated architecture of IBM i, interviewees said they were able to realign admin support hours as individual admins were able to be trained to maintain the entire environment. This helped reduce admin hours needed to run an integrated system by about 33% and freed up resources to handle other issues.
Forrester assumes an hourly burdened rate of $58 for an experienced system admin who can support an integrated operating environment. The average reduction in technical support hours is 33%. These two variables determine the savings witnessed by the composite organization.
“I would say the biggest advantage of IBM i is basically that it does not crash. That is the biggest real ability that business colleagues on other platforms appreciate the most. What we’ve seen is that these systems are very stable. For critical operations which need very high availability, we go with IBM i.” – Principal Systems Specialist, Logistics
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