The mainframe computer has been the workhorse of corporate computing for many years. The computing power, reliability and the powerful tools available on the mainframe were unmatched for many years.
Recently other platforms have made gains on the mainframe. Commercial Unix from IBM, Sun, HP and others as well as Linux and even Windows have become are serious platforms for deploying business software. However, for a certain class of applications it is hard to beat the mainframe for reliability and performance.
Document management is one not of those applications. Most organizations that have a mainframe these days have a geographically diverse work force. They may have workings scattered through out a country or even the entire world. Moving regular transactional data across vast distances is hard enough. Mainframe “green screens” and web pages zip along quickly over our existing networks and those we’ll have in the future. Put documents on that same network and things can come to a crawl. One premise of a successful document management system is speed. If it takes too long for a document to get from the central document repository to the worker who needs it via the document management system that worker will find another way to get the document or do without it.
The centralized nature of mainframe computing means that a document management system based only on the mainframe will be at the mercy of the network. The mainframe can be a critical piece of a document system. After all it is probably the most capable computer in any organization that owns one. The data it stores and manages can be critical to the successful operation of a document system, but to be successful a document system must be distributed. It must keep documents close to the workers who need them. The mainframe can be a great resource for you document management system, but it shouldn’t be at it’s core.