How the z13 will Fuel the Mobile Revolution

By Mike Desens, IBM; Scott Fagen, CA Tecnologies


By 2025, IBM predicts 40 trillion mobile transactions will occur every single day. Is your organization ready?

With its announcement of the z13 mainframe, IBM has developed a platform with the capacity to help companies transform their business and fully embrace the mobile revolution. The mainframe has evolved to deliver the highest levels of flexibility, security, speed and velocity. And as far as total cost of ownership, it is the most cost-efficient solution on the market.

Integrating the systems of record with the systems of insight through embedded analytics delivers more targeted customer interactions, which is a game changing competitive advantage. Then there's the scalability necessary for processing the exponentially increasing flow of data coming from mobile devices. The z13 is designed to do it all, while also delivering the tried and true performance, security and availability that continues to make the mainframe the most trusted platform on the planet for critical transactions.

Simply put, z13 is in an unparalleled position for enabling mobilization and maximizing business opportunities through the full data life cycle. It's a seminal moment as we move toward an ever more connected future.

Meeting the Challenge of the Data Explosion

One of the biggest challenges facing IT is the data explosion brought on by the sheer number of mobile devices now interacting with their network. As much as 50 percent of business transactions happen via mobile device. It's completely revolutionized the way businesses interact with their customers.

Network activity used to be fairly predictable. When the shingle in front of the store said open, it meant the business was ready to welcome customers. Owners could anticipate when they'd be busier -- say at Christmas time or during back to school shopping season.

But these days, transactions aren't governed by the hours when a brick and mortar store or bank is open. People remember they need to pay a bill in the middle of the night, and reach over to their tablet to transfer funds. Or they decide to do a little early morning shopping on their smart phone while waiting at the bus stop. Point being, data is coming in from millions of sources, at all times of the day.

IT must deliver an economical solution for dealing with the scale of transactions that now flood into businesses at unpredictable times. Many of the problems IT encounters have to do with sprawl. If they have 10,000 servers to deal with the multitude of transactions bombarding their network, that means they have to move code to 10,000 places. But what they need is the ability to swiftly, seamlessly adapt to the workload as it ebbs and flows.

The z13 allows businesses to easily scale up during busy times and just as simply scale back down without investing in costly infrastructure that will lie dormant during slow periods. It doesn't matter if the company gets flooded with transactions out of the blue -- the z13 will allow it to flex its capacity as much as necessary in order to accommodate all of the customers. And it does so on a single platform. What could be simpler than that?

Analytics at the Point of Impact

Beyond the scalability that allows companies to effortlessly adjust to fluctuating workloads, the z13 also enables them to monetize transactions in new ways through near real time analytics. The old way of interacting with data meant relying on historical analytics to build a better business. But to be competitive now it's necessary to merge analytics with the systems that carry out transactions.

Businesses seek insights at the point of impact -- not a week later. That kind of visibility into who their customers are and how they're behaving allows companies to make lightning fast decisions as transactions are happening. In other words, mass mailings are the marketing tool of yesterday. Now it's all about the demographic of one.

Point-of-impact analytics delivers numerous competitive advantages. For example, a company can determine whether a customer is likely to commit fraud, in near real time, by cross-referencing previous behavior as he signs up for a new service. The z13's capacity is so great, it can perform this fraud detection on 100 percent of transactions. On the other end of the spectrum, a retailer can examine a customer's loyalty at checkout and recommend products for upselling based on recent purchases.

A basic transaction becomes a powerful opportunity for increasing revenue through this kind of advanced analytics. The z13 enables this partnering of the systems of record and systems of insight because its scalability allows the data to remain in one place. Rather than move the data to the analytics, the z13 accommodates both, so the process happens more efficiently.

Security at the Level the Mobile World Needs

Everyone thinks that mobile is less secure -- and to some extent, that's true. Mobile apps often link to and transfer very sensitive information. For example, a mortgage provider might develop an app that cross references with MLS listings and uses GPS to push a notification about a couples' mortgage application, as they're out house hunting.

It certainly raises security concerns when such sensitive data is being shuttled back and forth. Indeed, more than 70 percent of IT leaders say that security is their greatest mobile challenge, according to IBM.

But the z13 is specifically designed to accelerate the performance of encryption, improving security while preserving a smooth customer experience. As the mortgage application notice pops up on the home buyer's smart phone, she'll never even realize the split-second, ultra-complicated process going on behind the scenes to ensure her data stays safe.

It's worth noting that on the back end, z/OS Connect software makes the z13 consumable as a platform for mobile app development. Apps these days are developed in a very responsive way. Rather than taking months or years to emerge from developers' brains, they're born in days or even hours. But z/OS Connect simplifies the process by allowing developers to fully leverage the mainframe, in a SAAS-like fashion.

Ultimately IT will be able to rapidly develop new apps, deploy them and iterate, constantly improving them out in the marketplace. After all, no matter how refined an app may be in the lab, it's better to get it out in the real world and let it start evolving. Yet even if the app is imperfect when it enters the market, the z13's encryption capabilities will ensure that customers are protected.

Combined, the z13's capacity, scalability, analytics capabilities and security enable companies to leverage investments in information -- the data that serves as their lifeblood -- to deliver unmatchable value in the new mobile era. An investment in z13 is an investment in your company's mobile future.

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