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Innovative Mainframe Solutions: A Deep Dive into Broadcom’s Initiatives

Innovative Mainframe Solutions: A Deep Dive into Broadcom's Initiatives

This past week, Camberley Bates and I attended the Broadcom Mainframe Software Analyst forum, which offered an in-depth look at Broadcom’s strategic vision and initiatives in the mainframe space. The event featured over 30 executives, including Greg Lotko, Senior Vice President of Broadcom’s Mainframe Software Division, who reports directly to CEO Hock Tan. Lotko’s comments on investment and growth were particularly noteworthy, contrasting sharply with the uncertain market narrative around VMware. Key themes included Open, Hybrid, and Partnership, but the dominant takeaway was Broadcom’s unwavering focus on delivering customer value. This principle was evident throughout their presentations, responses to questions, and strategic explanations.

Broadcom’s approach can be summarized by its commitment to align business objectives with customer benefits. This philosophy was consistently reflected in their statements, such as:

  • “We will do what is of business value to us and our customers.”
  • “We made the decision based on feedback from customers.”

Examples of this customer-centric approach included several innovative programs:

  1. Win-No-Fee Service: Broadcom offers a service where they analyze and recommend tool consolidation, providing consulting services to manage the migration at no cost to the client. This program demonstrates their confidence in delivering tangible savings and efficiency improvements.
  2. Gen-AI Initiative: Broadcom aims to develop AI solutions in collaboration with customers, ensuring that both parties anticipate and validate the value. They focus on building and testing AI capabilities with clients’ data on their premises, fostering an innovation partnership.
  3. Mainframe Vitality Residency Program: This year-long initiative addresses the talent gap in the mainframe space. Broadcom hires, trains, and mentors new mainframe professionals, placing them with clients as interns, with the option for clients to hire them. Broadcom fully funded this program, highlighting their investment in the future of mainframe expertise.
  4. DevOps Enablement: Broadcom’s approach integrates modern and legacy tools, allowing traditional mainframers and modern programmers to collaborate seamlessly. This integration is crucial for enhancing productivity and fostering a culture of innovation within mainframe teams.
  5. Delivering functionality without cost: Broadcom has taken a novel approach to delivering new feature/function to its portfolio. Rather than looking to charge upgrades or create SKU’s and bundles, Broadcom has decided to focus on adoption rather than upsell. A great example of this is the new cloud-based functionality within CA-1.

Broadcom’s relentless focus on customer value is not just a strategic direction but a core operational principle. Their initiatives are tailored to meet the evolving needs of their clients, ensuring that both Broadcom and their customers achieve mutual success.

The Mainframe’s Relevance

Lotko emphasized that Broadcom is not only maintaining its investment in mainframe technologies but is actively growing this segment. This stands in stark contrast to the challenges faced by VMware, where strategic direction and investment have been more ambiguous in recent times. The mainframe, often perceived as a relic of the past, remains a cornerstone for over 3,000 global enterprises and governments. This platform is crucial for these organizations, handling vast amounts of transaction processing, especially in industries such as banking, insurance, and retail. Despite its age, the mainframe’s robustness, security, and reliability make it irreplaceable for mission-critical operations.

Skills and Investment: Addressing the Talent Gap

A key focus of the forum was the evolving landscape of mainframe skills and Broadcom’s proactive steps to address the talent gap. The 2024 Global Mainframe Skills Report by The Futurum Group offers invaluable insights into this area. Contrary to the pervasive narrative of an aging mainframe workforce, the report highlights a 65% increase in skilled mainframe professionals over the past five years. Furthermore, 91% of employers plan to hire new mainframe talent within the next two years, underscoring the ongoing demand for these skills.

Broadcom has recognized the critical need for a skilled workforce and has implemented several innovative programs to bridge the skills gap. One standout initiative is the Mainframe Vitality Residency Program. This year-long program recruits, trains, and mentors new mainframe professionals, placing them with clients as interns. Clients have the option to hire these interns, providing a seamless transition from training to full-time employment. This program is fully funded by Broadcom, demonstrating a significant investment in the future of mainframe expertise.

Another key program is Broadcom’s DevOps Enablement initiative, which integrates modern and legacy tools. This approach allows traditional mainframers and modern programmers to collaborate effectively, enhancing productivity and fostering innovation within mainframe teams. By providing tools that support both old and new methodologies, Broadcom is ensuring that the mainframe environment remains adaptable and attractive to new talent.

In addition to skills development, Broadcom is also driving value for clients through innovative solutions like Watchtower. This observability platform provides comprehensive monitoring and management capabilities for mainframe environments. It integrates with third-party tools such as Splunk and Datadog via OpenTelemetry APIs, allowing for a unified view of the IT landscape. Watchtower’s inclusion at no additional cost is a testament to Broadcom’s commitment to delivering value without imposing an extra financial burden on clients.

Broadcom’s strategy also includes delivering new functionalities without additional costs, focusing on adoption rather than upselling. A prime example is the new cloud-based functionality within CA-1, which enhances the existing toolset without requiring clients to purchase new licenses or upgrades. This approach drives value and encourages broader use of Broadcom’s solutions, ensuring that clients can fully leverage the capabilities of their mainframe environments.

Looking Ahead

Looking to the future, Broadcom’s investment strategy is clear: continue to deliver value and drive innovation in the mainframe space. This commitment is not just about maintaining the status quo but actively enhancing the capabilities and relevance of the mainframe in modern IT infrastructures. The Gen-AI initiative is a prime example, where Broadcom collaborates with clients to develop AI solutions tailored to their specific needs. By building and testing AI capabilities with clients’ data on their premises, Broadcom fosters a partnership that ensures the solutions are practical and valuable.

Broadcom’s focus on customer value is evident in every aspect of its strategy. From the Win-No-Fee Service, which offers tool consolidation and migration consulting at no cost, to the integration of modern development practices through DevOps Enablement, Broadcom is dedicated to aligning its business objectives with customer benefits. This customer-centric approach is not just a strategic direction but a core operational principle.

The ongoing investment in programs such as the Mainframe Vitality Residency and the Mainframe Expert Program highlights Broadcom’s dedication to addressing both immediate and long-term talent needs. By placing highly knowledgeable professionals within client organizations and offering extensive training and mentoring, Broadcom ensures that the mainframe workforce is not only skilled but also continuously improving.

In summary, the Broadcom Mainframe Software Analyst forum provided a comprehensive view of how Broadcom is positioning itself as a leader in the mainframe space. Through strategic investments, innovative programs, and a relentless focus on customer value, Broadcom is ensuring that the mainframe remains a vital and dynamic part of the modern enterprise IT landscape. The insights gained from this event underscore the importance of the mainframe and highlight Broadcom’s commitment to driving value and fostering innovation for its clients. As the mainframe continues to evolve, Broadcom’s strategic vision and customer-centric approach will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping the future of this critical technology.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

Other Insights from The Futurum Group:

Broadcom Revenue in Q4 Hits $9.3 Billion, Up 4% YoY, Beating Estimates

Changing Observability in the Mainframe Ecosystem with OpenTelemetry

Broadcom’s Fiscal Q1 2024 Earnings Analysis

Author Information

Camberley brings over 25 years of executive experience leading sales and marketing teams at Fortune 500 firms. Before joining The Futurum Group, she led the Evaluator Group, an information technology analyst firm as Managing Director.

Her career has spanned all elements of sales and marketing including a 360-degree view of addressing challenges and delivering solutions was achieved from crossing the boundary of sales and channel engagement with large enterprise vendors and her own 100-person IT services firm.

Camberley has provided Global 250 startups with go-to-market strategies, creating a new market category “MAID” as Vice President of Marketing at COPAN and led a worldwide marketing team including channels as a VP at VERITAS. At GE Access, a $2B distribution company, she served as VP of a new division and succeeded in growing the company from $14 to $500 million and built a successful 100-person IT services firm. Camberley began her career at IBM in sales and management.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in International Business from California State University – Long Beach and executive certificates from Wellesley and Wharton School of Business.

Regarded as a luminary at the intersection of technology and business transformation, Steven Dickens is the Vice President and Practice Leader for Hybrid Cloud, Infrastructure, and Operations at The Futurum Group. With a distinguished track record as a Forbes contributor and a ranking among the Top 10 Analysts by ARInsights, Steven's unique vantage point enables him to chart the nexus between emergent technologies and disruptive innovation, offering unparalleled insights for global enterprises.

Steven's expertise spans a broad spectrum of technologies that drive modern enterprises. Notable among these are open source, hybrid cloud, mission-critical infrastructure, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and FinTech innovation. His work is foundational in aligning the strategic imperatives of C-suite executives with the practical needs of end users and technology practitioners, serving as a catalyst for optimizing the return on technology investments.

Over the years, Steven has been an integral part of industry behemoths including Broadcom, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and IBM. His exceptional ability to pioneer multi-hundred-million-dollar products and to lead global sales teams with revenues in the same echelon has consistently demonstrated his capability for high-impact leadership.

Steven serves as a thought leader in various technology consortiums. He was a founding board member and former Chairperson of the Open Mainframe Project, under the aegis of the Linux Foundation. His role as a Board Advisor continues to shape the advocacy for open source implementations of mainframe technologies.

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