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Strategic Advantage

Win the supply-chain war with a strong business-process integration plan

Win the supply-chain war with a strong business-process integration plan

BPI and Modernization

According to IBM, it’s estimated that between 180 billion and 200 billion lines of COBOL code are in use worldwide (www-949.ibm.com/software/rational/cafe/community/cobol/standard), fueling the engine room of our global commercial economy. Hotly contested as this statistic may be (with both upward and downward revisions), the estimate of a further 5 billion lines of COBOL and RPG code being added annually to production-ready systems is even more mind boggling.

In the near to middle term, replacement is simply not an option. Organizations must find ways to reuse and leverage this code within the construct of a unified, long-term business IT roadmap. Modernization is an integral part of BPI and shouldn’t be tackled in isolation or exposed as a low-hanging fruit to tool providers not versed in BPI and strategic business alignment.

The IBM midrange community has traditionally been a highly loyal one, and justifiably so; the hardware has always been reliable and maintainable (with superior chip technology), comparatively scalable and user friendly (bordering at times on mollycoddling the developer community). Today, it’s a poster child for the green IT revolution (several hosting and cloud providers are seriously considering IBM Power Systems* servers for their data centers), plays well within the green-code mantra, runs multiple operating systems, supports open-source technologies, and embraces consolidation and virtualization.

IT departments aren’t revenue generators (with a few exceptions), and when perceived to be out of sync with the business, IT resources become a vulnerable expense—case in point, the number of CIOs who’ve faced redundancy in this crunched economy. Companies shouldn’t be enticed away from the IBM Power* community with false promises; the grass is rarely greener the other side of the mountain. The end-user and solution provider communities must collaborate better and cultivate a formula for mutual trust and success—the future of the midrange is in all of our hands.

Companies should seek solution providers to play the long-term, trusted advisor role. In return, solution providers should demonstrate business acumen and technical expertise within all spheres of the client’s interest, exhibit mastery of the strategic plan, and be equally at ease in the executive boardroom and the architect war room.

Dermot O'Doherty is the director of strategy and solutions at LANSA.



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