The Infotel team recently attended SHARE Atlanta 2023, and we had a great time convening with some of the brightest minds in the mainframe space. We’ve been a vendor in the industry for decades, and it’s always nice to reconnect with longtime colleagues and friends at SHARE conferences. In recent years however, it’s been particularly exciting to see so many new faces at these mainframe-exclusive events.

One of the most exciting aspects of the conference was the significant number of young attendees. Infotel has been discussing the mainframe skills gap for a few years now, and it was encouraging to see so many new and young faces at the event. The influx of younger talent to the industry bodes well for the future of the platform.

Much of the excitement at SHARE Atlanta this year was fueled by IBM’s recent announcement of z/OS 3.1 just a week before attendees were set to head to Atlanta. The conference provided excellent opportunities to hear more about the z/OS release in a decade and take the temperature of industry gossip on the announcement in real time.

Slated for release in Q3 2023, IBM states their z/OS version 3.1 will be the basis for “an AI-infused, hybrid cloud operating system.” This release comes on the heels of global AI adoption skyrocketing in recent years, with McKinsey reporting adoption has more than doubled since 2017, with 50-60% of organizations worldwide using AI according to their 2022 Global Survey on AI.

In Atlanta, we learned a few key details about the updated version. For one, this release will be the first step in a longer strategy to integrate AI into z/OS. And, IBM says 3.1 will embrace modern browser interfaces and simplify management of the operating system, opening the door for users without highly specialized z/OS training to gain proficiency on the platform. The focus on both updating the platform with modern advances in artificial intelligence, along with a dedication to simplifying the user interface to broaden the user pool, we think are smart moves.

We had many conversations on the expo floor with colleagues about the announcement, and everyone we spoke with said the announcement signaled good things for the state of the industry going forward. It sparked conversations around ChatGPT and AGI (what many think AI will turn into). Like many folks we talked to, we’re excited to see how these technologies help close the mainframe skills gap that continues to widen as today’s experienced professionals reach retirement age. The possibilities seem endless at these beginning stages, but any tool that can help developers do their job better and more efficiently is of big interest to those of us in the mainframe space.

The fact that IBM is continuing to innovate and invest in the mainframe with recent software and hardware releases to support the changing business needs of their core industries means job security and high demand for professionals in Fortune 500 industries.

We also noticed in Atlanta a greater interest in what the software vendor community was up to. Moreso than in recent years attendees from commercial organizations like Wells Fargo, Blue Cross Blue Shield, General Motors, and Delta Airlines were interested in what new tech was coming out of the “non-Big 2” (those of us other than IBM and Broadcom). Perhaps the industry is starting to experience price-hike fatigue, and this led to several productive conversations about our latest product releases and what problems our customers are looking to solve.

Since the return of in-person events following the COVID-19 pandemic, conference attendance across all mainframe industry conferences Infotel has been to has been on the rise. We’re already looking forward to our next SHARE conference in New Orleans this August!