Three More Reasons Why Millennials Benefit from Engaging with the Mainframe

Thanks for all the feedback from last week’s blog here on millennials and mainframe systems.  This week I talk about what other attributes and ideas the millennials can get from the mainframe systems, their development, and the people who support the technology.

  1. Millennials can learn corporate business rules from the mainframe.  Some mainframe systems have been actively working for the business many years, sometimes even decades.  These systems have been modified, enhanced, and leveraged to book profits for the corporation by providing the most inexpensive cost per transaction.  Also, these systems have been extended by replicating their data into many other applications and systems like big data. 

    Since these mainframe systems are running the business today, they are programmed to make all the business processing decisions; and contain all the data definitions, element encoding, application process criteria, and processing relationships for the business.  All of the applications’ code, regardless of language, hold the business rules that make sure the business works.  To understand the business millennials need only look to these legacy systems for a more complete understanding.

  2. Learn how the business shares its data and processes.  Since many of these mainframe systems have been around forever, millennials need to understand their history, what it took to develop them, and how they are shared across the various business departments.  These older systems handle all types of processes for many different business departments.  Years ago fewer projects were developed because of the larger development costs and the need for a greater number of people to communicate across the corporation.  Since these systems needed to do so much for the various business aspects, they crossed many departments and shared their data, processes and functions throughout departments and divisions.  Today’s projects share data and processes, but not to the extent of the collaboration required for some of these mainframe systems, since it is now easier for departments or managers to budget, develop, and deploy their own focused business solutions.  

  3. Millennials can learn about the forged corporate consensus.  These mainframe systems built to service across departments and foster collaboration throughout the entire corporation had to forge corporate consensus to function.  Anyone who has been in development understands how difficult it is to get departments to share their data and agree on the representation of conditions in various codes or shared data elements.  Corporate data consensus was built through data dependencies and data relationships between the departments. Their corporate collations were forged through these mainframe systems still hard at work today.

Millennials need to get involved with the mainframe systems and the people who have the corporate knowledge as soon as possible.  Since all of that gray-haired knowledge is beginning to walk out the door to retirement, management needs to have the new millennials pick up their know-how before it’s lost forever.  By gaining knowledge of the battles fought and corporate policies embedded in the mainframe systems, the millennials can avoid rehashing old issues and leverage the corporate wisdom for better systems development in the future.

Dave Beulke is a system strategist, application architect, and performance expert specializing in Big Data, data warehouses, and high performance internet business solutions. He is an IBM Gold Consultant, Information Champion, and President of DAMA-NCR, former President of International DB2 User Group, and frequent speaker at national and international conferences. His architectures, designs, and performance tuning techniques help organization better leverage their information assets, saving millions in processing costs.

As President of the DAMA-NCR Washington DC user group I would like to announce DAMA Day September 16, 2014.  Great speakers with topics you need to know!

  • John Ladley – Using Enterprise Architecture to Manage Data Governance and Information Management
  • David Loshin – Establishing a Business Case for Data Quality Improvement
  • Catherine Ives – Understanding and working with the DATA Act
  • Peter Aiken – The Case for the CDO

For more information go to

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