Formerly referred to as the AS/400 and iSeries, and now known as the IBM i, this core system is truly more than meets the eye, has been in use for several decades, and continues to be utilized by teams globally for mission critical processes including ERP, TMS, WMS, core banking systems, and several other use cases.

Although it may seem to be “lacking” in terms of usability or features when compared to some of the “latest and greatest” cloud technologies with its black and green UI, there are many good reasons why the system continues to stay relevant:

Stability and Reliability

Stability and Reliability

It has a reputation for its self-healing ability to operate continuously for long periods without interruptions, an important feature for businesses that rely on consistent uptime.

Low TCO (total cost of ownership)

Low TCO (total cost of ownership)

It requires minimal supervision from IT administrators. In hand, this reduces the management overhead and allows for substantial savings.

Scalability

Scalability

The platform is designed to manage workloads effectively by adding more resources to a single system. This can be advantageous for businesses experiencing growth without requiring a transformation of their infrastructure.

Business Continuity

Business Continuity

The IBM i is often linked with mission-critical applications. Some businesses prefer to stick with a platform that has a history of maintaining business continuity.

Security

Security

IBM i has a sophisticated security model that is built into the operating system, making it incredibly resilient.


Just like anything else in this world, nothing can be absolutely perfect and that is why it’s critical to also consider any potential challenges for teams that still run core operations on the IBM i platform.

Common challenges:

Integration with external systems

Integration with External Systems

Integrating existing applications and business logic residing on the IBM i with modern cloud-based systems such as a CRM, partner channel applications, and ERP systems can be difficult, especially when it comes to scaling across a large number of channels. This will most likely require additional assistance from teams outside of the IBM i in terms of facilitating communication between the IBM i systems and modern platforms.

Skill Shortages

Skill Shortages

Finding professionals who are experienced in IBM i programming and administration can present a challenge. As the platform becomes older, there are fewer individuals entering the field with IBM i expertise, leading to shortages within organizations and questions raised by management regarding if the platform should still be used.

Application scalability

Application Scalability

IT traditionally focuses on incremental changes and maintaining legacy applications, often becoming a bottleneck of Digital Transformation initiatives. Businesses must rapidly deliver new products and services while keeping the efficient operational models and offering customers multiple channels to interact in real-time.


Key Takeaways:

  • The IBM i platform continues to be a prevalent choice for businesses worldwide.
  • Benefits include stability, reliability, security, cost-effectiveness, scalability, and business continuity.
  • There are a plethora of resources available for companies that choose to remain on the IBM i.
  • Overcoming challenges like integrating with modern systems, addressing skill shortages, and enhancing application scalability is crucial for leveraging its potential in digital transformation endeavors.

While technology continues to evolve, the IBM i remains a reliable platform. The dedication of companies to the IBM i over the years is a testament to its value. For organizations committed to staying on the platform, the path forward is clear with the assistance of the right partner who can guide them through any challenges and opportunities, ensuring a smooth journey through any complexities that may arise.

Curious to learn about our experience driving digital transformation initiatives and assisting teams reliant on the IBM i platform? Feel free to contact us or visit our case studies page to uncover more about our practice and expertise.

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