Back to the Future with AS/400: How do companies employ iSeries IT infrastructure?

Read our article to:

  • Delve into the enduring importance and efficiency of AS/400 systems in contemporary business environments.
  • Examine the demographics of AS/400 professionals and address the concerns about the availability of future experts.
  • Discover the variety of software, including AI applications, that are being used with AS/400 systems in businesses today.
  • Explore the evolution and future potential of IBM Power AS/400 systems in the business sector.

The classical AS/400 is often categorized as a legacy system but still ranks as a high-performance infrastructure that continues to be indispensable for many companies. A new 2023 survey shows us which way future trends might go. Comarch, IBM’s partner and PowerCloud provider, has analysed the most important aspects and shares its tips. 

Conducted by All400S LLC, the "2023 IBM i (AS/400, iSeries) Survey" interviewed hundreds of business users. Bartłomiej Kluska, ICT Director at Comarch, compares the survey’s results with his own experience.

Who works with the AS/400 system in companies?

AS/400 is used mainly by software developers and programmers (65%), and less frequently by system admins (20%) and IT managers (17%). One-third of respondents are between 50 and 59 years old, and a further 35% are over 60. Bartlomiej Kluska from Comarch confirms that many companies are already worried they might face shortages of iSeries experts in the future.


What software is used along with AS/400?

AI-based technologies are now widely available. The survey also asked respondents which AI tools AS/400 their companies rely on to develop, document, and test their applications. Half of all respondents (50%) said they didn’t use such solutions. The second largest group mentioned ChatGPT (20%), followed by other solutions, each of which was listed by 1-2% of respondents.

When it comes to AS/400 ERP systems in use in companies, the spectrum is very broad. The most frequent option is an internal ERP system, purpose-built to meet the specific needs of the company (28%). Next in line is J.D. Edwards World, listed by nearly 10% of all respondents. These two options are followed by a large variety of different ERP systems, each mentioned by fewer than 5% of respondents.

Generally speaking, this huge diversity of systems in use demonstrates the potentially helpful role that managed services providers (MSPs) can play. According to Comarch’s Bartłomiej Kluska, AS/400 managed services providers offer needs-oriented support, which is always precisely tailored to the software at hand.


What is the future of IBM Power AS/400??

Some companies are planning an overhaul, often because AS/400 is perceived as an old technology or it is not understood well enough (36%). 12% are planning for a migration at an unspecified time in the future; a further 11% are considering this as a possibility, which is still under discussion. However, half of all respondents (49%) declare they do not want to migrate and would prefer to continue working with IBM Power. Bartłomiej Kluska, has also observed a high appreciation for AS/400 in his interviews with companies.

IBM Power is the technology of the future, which, thanks to PowerCloud, opens the doors to all the options offered by the digital network. Apart from development (68%) and corrections (57%), one-third of respondents also mentioned a modern (online/mobile/tablet) experience and API integrations of online services as their activities on the platform. As such, AS/400 ranks as an important springboard for innovative technologies. In companies, most external support is received in the area of software (60%). As for cloud hosting providers, many companies rely on hyper scalers with large data centres.

Bartłomiej Kluska believes that a European alternative to American hyperscalers is now urgently needed. Comarch has a portfolio of IBM Power software and offers comprehensive IT infrastructure and managed services to go along with it. “Modern data centres, such as the Comarch Data Centre in Dresden, stand out for their exceptional comprehensive IBM Power managed services” and provide a high-security alternative to internal operations for medium-sized and large enterprises. As an IBM business partner with a global network of certified data centres and experienced specialists, Comarch guarantees the highest level of security and support for IBM and cloud systems.”

Key takeaways:

  • AS/400 systems continue to be crucial in modern businesses, providing strong performance.
  • There's a noticeable challenge in maintaining a skilled workforce for AS/400 systems.
  • The future trajectory for AS/400 in businesses hints at significant transformations and sustained importance.

More about AS/400 and PowerCloud

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