2015 ChangeMan ZMF product survey



If you are part of the ChangeMan ZMF community, you may have received the ChangeMan ZMF Product Survey which went out in February of this year. If you were at xChange 2015, or if you’ve been on the last couple of Mainframe VUGs (Virtual User Groups), you have heard Mark Levy and I mention the survey.

During the kickoff session of the Mainframe track at xChange, among other topics such as the product roadmap, product futures and initiatives within R&D, I presented a glimpse of the survey results. The survey was still open so the results weren’t finalized but were consistent and in-line with what we are seeing now that the survey is closed. The results follow.


2015 demographics (questions 1 & 2)




 Job function


Business Services






ChangeMan ZMF admin


Finance: Banking


Change/Config manager


Finance: Insurance




Finance: Other             








Government (US)








Independent consultant 












Technology: Software and IT




Technology: Outsourcing













Q3: What versions of ChangeMan ZMF are you using in production?



Q4: How long does it typically take to upgrade to a new release of ChangeMan ZMF?



Q5: Which ChangeMan ZMF interfaces do you use?



Q6: Do you currently use or plan to use Rational Development and Test (RD&T) for System z?



Q7: Do you currently have or plan to have developers developing applications on the RD&T platform, or use RD&T only as a test environment?



Q8: What other Mainframe SCM or version control tool does your company use?



Q9: What are the top 2-3 benefits you receive from ChangeMan ZMF?


As this question elicited a free-form response, it wouldn’t be feasible to list all of the individual responses here. The responses were categorized the since most fell into similar functional categories.







Flexibility 17% -  Refers to the overall flexibility of the product, flexibility to suit the workflow to the business, ease of administration and for the majority of replies, this referred to the flexibility in customizing the product.


Audit/IA 4% - Not to be confused with auditability but to refer to the Audit and Impact Analysis functions of ChangeMan ZMF. This could have been lumped in with integrity, but there were enough responses calling out Audit and IA that it warranted its own category.


Ease of use 4% - Comments around ease of use centered around the UI, help systems and simplicity of the ZMF package lifecycle/workflow.


Stability 11% - Stability in this context refers to product quality as well repeatability and predictability of the workflow.


Integrity 11% - Integrity refers to package/component integrity, source-to-load integrity, confidence in the Audit/IA process and ease of backout.


Traceability 20% - This category refers to all things to do with the visbility, tracability and auditability of all activity taking place under the purview of ChangeMan ZMF. This was the highest rated benefit of the product according to this survey.


Collaboration 9% - Comments pertaining to collaboration called out ZMF’s superior management of parallel and concurrent development, conflict prevention and resolution.


Extensibility 4% - Although this category could have been included in the Flexibility category, there were enough responses that specifically called out the XML and Web Services as particularly beneficial.


Release/Deploy 9% - ZMF’s release management and production deployment capabilities were noted by several respondents.


Other 11% - Responses did not fit into any of the categories above.




Q10: What are the top 2-3 things Serena can do to improve your experience with ChangeMan ZMF?


Like question 9, this requested a free-form response listing 2-3 separate items, so were similarly categorized.





Upgrade 22% - This category had the highest frequency of the respondents. Upgrade refers to ease of upgrade from release to release, and is primarily concerned with retooling ISPF skeleton customizations from release to release.


N/A: 17% - These respondents had no recommendations for improvement.


Specific function: 13% - These responses requested a specific enhancement to the product.


ISPF/Client Pack parity 9% - These were requests to ensure that either all functions available in ISPF are also available to the Client Pack, or that customizations to ISPF are also made available to the Client Pack.


Quality 9% - To do with overall product quality, Serena’s quality assurance process etc.


Pricing 9% - To do with ChangeMan ZMF pricing.


Reporting 4% - The need for better and more flexible reporting as well as visualization and analytics.


XML/Web Services 2% - Requests to provide more functions into the ZMF XML and Web Services.


Education 2% - Improvements to ChangeMan ZMF education.


Other 13% - These responses were either not sufficiently clear, not valid or for some reason didn’t fit into any of the categories above. I’ll explain further below.


The remainder of the survey was optional questions about the respondent, their contact information etc.


Here are my thoughts and Serena’s takeaways:


For those of you who were at xChange 2015, I think you will agree that this was the best mainframe track in years. Not only because of the excellent content and preparation that always goes into xChange, but more importantly, the open dialogs, special interest groups and free-flowing discussions on what the next major version of ZMF will look like, how ZMF can work with SBM to provide the glue for a unified release strategy, how SBM and ZMF can work together to provide test-driven development and a whole plethora of other ideas. We heard from ZMF admins, developers, release managers, and received presentations from some of ZMF's main power users on the benefits of ERO as well as defining user-defined relationships and got to see In-Com in action. As promised, you will soon see areas up on Serena Central for customers and partners to upload sample REXX, XML services and other sample artifacts as this online community gets built out. We are already posting KBTV vignettes on HLLX, RACF PassTicket and there will be more very soon.


No surprise that for most respondents, it takes 3-6 months to upgrade a release of ZMF. As most of you know from the VUGs and xChange, this is a major area of focus for the team. We are attacking this problem on two fronts; HLLX, as you know by now, allows you to encapsulate your customizations in an area that is auxiliary to ZMF, so when it’s time to upgrade, you simply couple your upgraded release to your HLLX logic. The truth is that upgrading ZMF is relatively simple; it is carrying forward the customizations that represent the work associated with the upgrade. Once the leap is made to HLLX, that issue goes away for the most part. Two other benefits of HLLX are that a) they can be written in REXX or any LE-enabled high level language, and b) the Client Pack can now participate in these customizations, so ISPF users, Eclipse users, Windows users will all have common business and presentation logic. This concern regarding ISPF customizations for Client Pack was raised several times in this survey, and HLLX is the official response. The other front on which we are attacking this upgrade issue is in identifying, aggregating and cataloging known user customizations. For those customizations that everyone seems to do every time, we are taking steps to provide these customizations out of the box. So between these two efforts we are closing in on this issue from both sides. In fact the customer advisory board spent most of the day with Serena support, R&D and SAs following xChange digging into these customization issues.


Regarding the UIs, you will notice that there two subcategories for the responses; the respondents and the ZMF users in their organization. No surprise that about everyone uses ISPF, but what was a bit surprising was how many Client Pack users there were for RDz and native Eclipse, both from the respondents as well as across the organizations that they represent. As you can see, the XML and Web services are put to heavy use in these organizations.


Not surprisingly, there just isn’t that much interest in RD&T. We do get inquiries, and in case you don’t know, all of our mainframe products are fully functional and certified on RD&T. We have our own RD&T system and use it for development and unit testing.


With regard to the top 2-3 benefits of ChangeMan ZMF, most were as much around the flexibility, customizability (if that is a word) as was the rigor, auditability, traceability and overall integrity and ability to handle concurrent/parallel development. This has always been the paradox of ChangeMan ZMF in that the consequence of this flexibility and customizability is also the biggest pain point with the product,  the laborious upgrade process because of all of the flexibility. So not surprisingly, the area with the most negative hits was upgrade.   As I mentioned, we are closing this gap from two fronts, HLLX to replace ISPF skeleton customizations as well as identifying the most common customizations and working toward making those available out of the box (see “The Vanilla Challenge” to learn more).


Pricing was an issue for a couple of respondent's.  When those concerns are raised, they are directed to the  appropriate folks within Serena to address pricing.


There were a couple of hits on quality, but what is interesting is if you correlate the responses to the responders environments, most were on earlier levels of ChangeMan ZMF. I think most if not all would agree that 7.1.3 was a major turning point in quality improvement for ChangeMan ZMF. There have been dramatic changes to the overall quality process over the last few years and we are all seeing the benefit.


Many of the areas of improvement or shortcomings with the product (quality, upgrade burden, lack of functional parity between the ISPF UI and the Client Pack) have been addressed over 7.1.3 and 8.1. Of course we will strive to constantly improve and close any outstanding gaps.


The bottom line: This was a very helpful exercise and something we take seriously. We will engage with the product, technical, R&D and account teams to put particular focus on areas that need improvement, and where appropriate, will reach out to customers who have indicated that they would be willing to discuss this further. We want all of our customers to be promoters of ChangeMan ZMF and of Serena.











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