To meet increasing customer expectations driven by digital transformation, companies need to design and continuously improve customer journeys that deliver more value. This has stimulated an emerging and evolving business discipline known as customer experience (CX).

Under the CX umbrella is a duty to secure the success of a business and its customers, and provide positively differentiated customer journeys by eliminating competitive risks and capturing growth opportunities. But in mainframe development, the principal reason for improving CX is to eradicate four existential threats affecting the mainframe industry, dedicated software companies, their customers and users of technology in general. Those threats include:

  • Mainframe apathy
  • Workforce turnover
  • Outdated and complex tools
  • Increasing demands of the digital economy

Disregarding these threats is hazardous to the survival of the mainframe and the economy that relies on it. As a mainframe software company, Compuware believes companies like it should combat these threats with the end goal of generating better customer experiences. Here’s how:

1. Make New Investments

Continuous disinvestment in mainframe development by software companies has made it harder for customers to maintain their mainframe applications and data. Software companies can offset this apathy by making new investments in the mainframe and by serving as thought leaders and models of mainframe innovation to customers in the digital economy.

For example, Compuware is focused on improving the culture, processes and tools associated with the mainframe, rather than letting them fall into stabilized, legacy states that render them unusable by the next generation of the mainframe workforce.

2. Grow a New Workforce

Expert mainframe developers are retiring and taking with them decades of software and application knowledge. Meanwhile, most next-generation developers are disinterested in the mainframe. And, if they are interested, they have trouble finding access to educational resources.

To help next-gen developers overcome the mainframe’s learning curve, software companies should make resources for knowledge sharing and online and academic resources for learning to operate and troubleshoot programs more accessible.

For example, Compuware provides regular industry analysis based on its current state, as well as specific information about its products and processes to improve the ease and understanding of mainframe development.

3. Provide Modern Development Tools

Outdated and complex development tools exacerbate the difficulty next-generation developers have with understanding decades-old mainframe programs. Software companies must provide modern development tools designed for a generation familiar with high-level languages like Java and Eclipse-based integrated development environments that enable faster, more efficient development.

For example, Compuware provides a range of cross-platform DevOps tools that resemble the familiar, intuitive tools of distributed development to improve the efficiency and quality of our customers’ application development and delivery.

4. Meet Demands of the Digital Economy

Customers of mainframe software companies are rapidly shifting their needs and adjusting to meet increasing and more frequent business demands. As mainframe-dependent technologies of engagement emerge and rapidly innovate, the mainframe can’t risk moving at a slower pace. Failing to provide customers with timely solutions based on their immediate needs is a failure of CX.

Mainframe software companies must bring the mainframe into more efficient development processes like where customer engagement and feedback is a primary component of the software development lifecycle for producing minimum viable products that answer immediate customer needs.

For example, Compuware operates on a continuous-delivery life cycle that provides customers with net-new functionality every 90 days, ensuring their most immediate needs are met in the digital economy.

Threats against the mainframe obligate software companies to improve CX and prevent the downfall of a platform vital to customer success. In the era of the empowered customer, mainframe leaders—as consumers and benefactors of innovation in the digital economy—owe it to ourselves, our customers and future generations to rise to this challenge.

For further insights on the evolving importance of CX in the enterprise, check out these posts:

Photo: Flickr:Joe The Goat Farmer