I’m an IT guy. I love this stuff. Sometimes drives my wife crazy. Interesting enough she also has a B.S. in Computer Science. Although mine is from Iowa State – nice school middle of a cornfield, hers is from Central Michigan – also nice school in middle of the hand. (Not so inside joke if you’re from Michigan). You know where I work – she has the harder job – taking care of our kids now – and much lower pay.
Anyway, on to the topic.
This is the time of year I love. When we begin to look at next year. I’d like to share some industry trends that I find key to 2009 and beyond:
Web 2.0, RUI and Rich Internet Applications. Enough said on this subject. But WOW - technologies always get my blood pumping. This is it. Everyone in IT should be getting on the train. Providing better access of information and our products - to our internal and external customers and prospects. One word, COOL.
Simplification and Dynamic Languages. Making things easier. Technology drives much of the world – but it just plain needs to be easier to both create and consume. No developer should think that creating web forms, running business logic, and accessing information should be difficult. What is difficult should be the art of creating something that is easy, valuable, and meets the need. Not the underpinnings of the technology. In context of languages, Forrester calls the drive to simplification Dynamic Languages. Languages that are easier that let developers do more.
SOA. It’s mainstream now. And it’s transforming how IT approaches application development and maintenance. And reuse – especially of existing assets is a great thing. Too much money being spent to rewrite, rehost, replatform, or redo with very questionable corporate value or ROI.
Business Rules. Categorizing business processing; identifying processing in code – and delivering processing through rules engines. A repository that codifies the business. This is a no brainer to me. Electronically, I should be pointed to key business processing as I’m working with an application. A key facilitator of SOA. Love the ILOG announcement.
Agile Development. We’re all over that here. And it’s proving to provide better deliveries - through better understanding of working new application components and how they fit with other components – much earlier in the cycle. It’s also improving how teams function and interact. As we’ve all known – team productivity can be a bigger issue than individual productivity. One superstar can’t make much difference without an executing supporting cast.
Model Driven Development. Using pictures to define and understand processing, gain agreement, then generating code - from those pictures - is certainly a good thing. But we need to make even more consumable and useful in the real world. And extend our processes to tie business models to application models to business rules to code (not necessarily only in that order).
Cost Management and the tie to Green initiatives. I know. Cost management sounds boring. And what does IT have to do with Green? Well think about it. If we take up less building space, require less infrastructure, use less power, we save resources – and money. By lowering costs in other areas, IT can be more responsive by reallocating some costs to even more revenue producing initiatives.
More entrepreneurship and growth of IT influence in the business. This is the most important. Profit is king. Try things that generate profit. Fail or succeed. Learn. Try some more. Bring more excitement to and focus on IT.
In closing – my view is that IT will need to focus on these key areas in 2009 to be successful. Some are lower level, some higher – but I think all will need coverage. I’d recommend you assign owners to each – some can be shared. I look forward to delivering technology next year to you that can help in all these areas.[Read More]
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connomon 0600010TDW Tags:  development web productivity soa languages cost management driven model eglcafe reuse application rui web2.0 green 9,472 Views
The stock market is down, COBOL caused it. Gasoline prices are up, COBOL caused it. Businesses and governments are not responsive? COBOL caused it.
See the attached link referring to the State of California? Titled: "California can't perform pay cut because of COBOL"; according to their Governor; http://developers.slashdot.org/article.pl?no_d2=1&sid=08/08/05/1816206
And over the last few years I've seen many more of a similar bent. Basically COBOL applications, developers, and infrastructures are the root cause of IT not meeting it's business requirements.
Are our business leaders, IT leaders, governmental leaders and publications - when discussing languages - out of their collective minds?
So some facts.
There are 2 Billion lines of COBOL code running worldwide large corporate businesses. There are 1.5 Million COBOL developers doing business development. Both according to Gartner Group. That's the positive.
Much of the COBOL business processing is delivered in older less changeable architectures of the past. That's the negative.
One person's conclusion. COBOL is a good business language. And COBOL developers are generally good resources. But at the end of the day - as noted in my other blog entries - it's about IT delivering value. And for COBOL only applications - and COBOL only developers - that's a problem today.
COBOL will be one of many languages forward. It's easy to write, and performs really well. Great language attributes. But it won't be the key language. Nor will the architectures of COBOL's past be the key ones either. COBOL is not great at Rich User Interfaces, and providing the front end of Web and Web 2.0 architectures - which will drive most design and development efforts. COBOL as a language is and continues to be relevant for business processing. So for delivering back end services in a service oriented architecture, it will be a key language. It's also unparalleled in batch processing which will continue to provide back end support for web applications. And many customers want to share transactional and batch processing as well.
I also believe COBOL as a runtime should be viewed independently from COBOL as a language. EGL can let us take advantage of the runtime positives of COBOL like high throughput, very fast access to data, and strong transactional processing in CICS, IMS, and other transaction managers. And EGL can also be used for the UI and front end part of the application.
People eat up lots of the IT cost structure. Reuse as well is much more important today - both due to cost of writing code as well as in meeting requirements for faster responsiveness. These modern architectures also promote reuse. No matter what the underlying language or languages.
COBOL developers will need to deliver value in new languages and infrastructures, like Web 2 and SOA, to stay relevant in overall application design activities. It's not COBOL that's the problem - it's about IT doing, or not doing, more. Blaming COBOL is ridiculous. Blaming those who hinder the endgame; won't change processes; won't get with the new economic realities on how we need to perform; is also probably not going to be productive. My message. For the COBOL developers - learn Web 2.0, do Web 2.0, make your mark. You're companies will do better with their revenues, you'll do better in your careers, and I won't have to read the any more nonsense about COBOL [Read More]
This seems to me to be one of the most fundamental, yet simple to understand issue that plagues IT today.
A ? that is tightly coupled with this is - Is IT going to be primarily viewed as an expense or as a revenue producer?
My view on this is pretty simple.
To deliver more value, IT organizations need to deliver more revenue producing applications faster. More processing, less time to market. Like I said - simple.
The average US worker improves productivity between 3 and 6 percent a year. Therefore every year - just off the top - IT developers need to deliver between 3 and 6 percent more value. Note, that's keeping pace with the economy - not creating any competitive advantage. How do we determine this improvement? One way to quantify what developers deliver is in lines of code, a second way to determine that is in business functions or key processes delivered. A third way is to measure profit of deliveries. The first is relatively easy to track; the second is harder but is certainly a more valuable indication, the third is of course the best way.
So who is the key to delivering value? Well, a sports team is in the business of scoring points, an IT organization is in the business of delivering processing. The skilled positions vary, but a key, maybe the key skilled position is the developer. They are the one doing the innovation and the creator of the new business functions or processing.
So then, how do developers do more? Strong tools enabling them to improve productivity, easier to implement architectures that deliver power and remove or hide complexity, and simple to learn, understand and write languages. That's it.
Yesterday I asked Tim Wilson, another blogger and the lead architect on EGL, how much productivity improvement can you get with EGL over other 3GL's like Java, COBOL, etc.? His answer was 10x. He's bold, but I believe him. My message to you is not too. Probably surprised you with that one. My other message to you is don't ignore his view. In other words, evaluate us, and most importantly, try it. The potential is worth the effort. And we want to work with you to make it even better.
My suggestion is this. As developers, look at delivering significant game changing impact to your organization. Leverage the new technologies that focus on that. Prove you can do it. In other words change the game.
At the end of the day, the more people that can innovate and do development, the better off your respective businesses and IT as an overall industry will be. [Read More]