Having just put new windows in a 41 year old house, the benefits of remodeling was top of mind while listening to keynotes from the recent Business Partner Leadership Conference. In one podcast, a CIO was referenced summing up the next few years of IT focus: ‘Modernizing applications, and dealing with the Web 2.0 thing. ‘(paraphrased) . Mmm..easy to say, but: How does that work really?
44 years ago, jut before the original sashes were put in my humble abode, IBM invested over $5B to launch the general purpose commercial business machine; the System/360. It was a bold move which has proved to have a large impact. One of the reasons these systems have successfully evolved is an initial design and commitment to enable applications to move forward as technology changes.
Plenty of applications have made technology jumps over the last four decades because of that initial commitment. Today’s leaps involve making applications accessible via the web, enabling them to be a part of new applications and accessible to new customers, markets, and business models. (Oh yeah, and dealing with that Web 2.0 thing too.) This refactoring transformation is referred to as ‘modernization’. (I guess it sounds more business like that remodeling...)
It is easy to forget that these kinds of changes have ensured that a majority of the data and transactions that run the world still reside happily, and effectively, in System z houses. A good example of evolved and layered systems fell in my lap, or ear, just days later from another pod broadcast. Entitled Web 2.0 and Wall Street, this discussion provides a great retrospective of IT’s essential role in Wall Street and speculates on possible future use of Web 2.0 technologies. (Yes, there are a few System z platforms on Wall Street!)
Design, architecture, and remodeling… oops, modernization. For we with the responsibility of crafting solutions others live with, it’s a good reminder that most projects don’t start with an empty lot or start in a ‘Greenfield’ state.* and that it matters what base you start with when you make changes. Put another way, starting with good materials gives the option of remodeling down the road.
Oh, and it’s pretty neat that those who live in a System z neighborhood can ‘modernize’ those old structures when the original windows get drafty rather than to start from scratch…… isn’t it?
Upcoming BLOG topics: Thoughts on Chargeback and Systems z, Good Things we forget about System z, notes on design Methods and...your ideas?
* ‘Greenfield’ refers to clean slate projects versus ‘Brownfield’ efforts built on pre-existing structures. See: Eating the IT Elephant