Victims of their own success
Mainframe systems are victims of their own success when it comes to long term skills planning. No-one could have forseen the longevity of core business applications, usually COBOL-based, when they were first devised decades ago. Now, that long-term success and value needs a longer-term resourcing model that - probably - outstrips any previous skills or people plans put in place.
We saw that concern with Y2K, but core IT skills supply and demand issues are no stranger to the public domain. Recent government initiatives to get kids coding and get more STEM graduates are all examples of a wider concern over future specialist technical skills in industry. Mainframe COBOL guys are just another incarnation of that. Compuware's O'Malley also knows that his organization, as well as IBM, Micro Focus and others are investing in both technology and academic partnerships to build a more robust longer-term supply of skilled coders who understand mainframes and COBOL systems alongside other technical abilities. Indeed, Micro Focus has recently launched a program all around the IT skills question but with a more upbeat perspective on how long term technical resource planning can be tackled. See www.microfocus.com for more information.