How Do Mainframes Play A Role In Digital Transformation?


As the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Although digital transformation tends to throw out many traditional tools in order to incorporate new ones, there are still some old school devices that still hold value for leading industries, and help drive innovation.

Mainframes are among those tools. They play a central role in the way major financial services operate because they provide a foundation that supports how devices function.

“A mainframe is the central data repository, or hub, in a corporation’s data processing center, linked to users through less powerful devices such as workstations or terminals. The presence of a mainframe often implies a centralized form of computing, as opposed to a distributed form of computing.” IBM reports.

According to Datatrain, more than 70% of global Fortune 500 companies still use the mainframe to run their core business functions, because mainframes hold the capabilities to manage large amounts of data that financial institutions hold.

Banks use mainframes for ATMs, in order to store transactional data because they provide a type of processing power that devices, such as ATM’s need in order to perform.

“Only big iron has the muscle to run real-time data analysis and analytics on all transactions, providing these organizations with up-to-the-minute information about their customers’ changing needs, evolving trends in the marketplace, and the success or failure of new initiatives and ventures.” Networkworld reports. 

Let’s look at some core benefits that mainframes offer financial institutions.

Analytic Agility

It is no surprise that banks operate off of analytics that requires an instant response if errors occur.

Mainframes work fast in order to support time sensitive requirements that banks possess, in order to cater to a customers demand.

Financial institutions have access to analytics through the large processing powers mainframes have, which further positions them to be customer centric and accurate.


Banks must be protected at all times because they are dealing with secure data that involves customer’s personal data, employee information, accounting data and much more.

Having a secure computer system is crucial for financial institutions, and mainframes make this job easier, through innovative tools.

“Mainframes have security built into them from the ground up. Through cryptographic hardware acceleration and secure operating system, mainframes fulfill the critical requirement of keeping the user and internal data protected.” Allerin reports.


In any industry, having computer systems that possess scalability is an important tool because of the constant developments that emerge through digital transformation.

Mainframe systems have the ability to maintain performance while adding new tools such as memory, processors, and storage while handling changing scenarios.

Mainframes Will Continue To Support Innovation

“The mainframe is not only the foundation of the past but is now forging the path to the future for companies undergoing a digital transformation.” Hemanth Rama, a senior product developer states, seen on BMC

It is predicted that mainframes will support innovation based on the benefits it holds. Experts say that the mainframe will adapt to new tools such as artificial intelligence, and machine learning that will enable businesses to further store data.

Organizations will continue to take advantage of the vast amount of tools that the mainframe holds in order to incorporate digital transformation into operations.

The latest mainframe released by IBM in July is called “IBM Z” and offers powerhouse capabilities, focusing mainly on security, that encrypts data that is associated with cloud services or applications. This differs from the previous mainframe, that only encrypted data on a selective basis.

IBM is putting efforts to stop cyber attacks, because of the massive increase in data breaches that have occurred over the past year.

To learn more about how the financial industry uses digital tools, attend The FSI Transformation Assembly.


FSI Transformation Assembly will be taking place September 14-15, 2017 at Four Seasons Resort in Palm Beach, FL is now open.

Join experts from North America’s major financial services and insurance organizations like Keynote Speaker Scott Dillon, EVP, CTO and Head of Technology Infrastructure Services at Wells Fargo and Company. 

Apply to attend here!

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