Reader Feedback On All Your IBM i Base Are Belong To Us
January 13, 2014 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Merry Christmas and best wishes to you and your staff. I can’t tell you how much we enjoy your analysis and the thoughtful articles you, Dan, and Alex write. IBM should create a Media BP class and invest some co-op marketing funds in you given what you do to educate people about IBM Power Systems.
I want to make a couple additional points in reference to your article, All Your IBM i Base Are Belong To Us.
Lately, we’ve seen a steady trickle of small customers who have been running old software on old boxes, transferring their entire environment to third-party hosting providers. These providers host the customers on modern hardware, but the customer is invisible to IBM and continues not to pay IBM SWMA, at least directly. The provider pays SWMA for himself, as a single IBM customer, and spreads that cost over all the customers he can fit onto the box. IBM doesn’t track the customers on the provider’s box so they have no idea how many are actually being supported. With this pricing model, promotion of hosting or “cloud” services barely generates any new SWMA revenue for IBM.
Another issue is the limited availability of modern looking, low cost application software that runs on IBM i. We constantly hear how the programmers in legacy shops won’t or can’t learn modern software development techniques. How can these folks learn given their very small training budgets, unless they can actually see sample source code? IBM could do a lot to help these folks learn and move forward by taking the lead on providing an open source application suite for small business that could run on i, AIX, and Linux. I suppose it would be written in PHP so it could run in various environments, on premises or hosted, and attract a new generation of developers who would never think of working on Power Systems otherwise.
Old timers might say this sounds like a return to Project San Francisco, but the timing is different now given IBM’s interest in open source and the smaller ecosystem focused on IBM Power Systems today. The critics should simply look at the very active ecosystem of developers that has grown up around each of Microsoft’s lines of business software in the past decade. They are generating billions in revenue annually for Microsoft and are mostly working in accounts that are very similar to the IBM i base. The Microsoft ERP partners today resemble the hundreds of partners IBM had during the early years of the IBM midrange market who made their living writing adds-ons and customizing MAPICS, DMAS, CMAS, etc.
Best wishes to you in 2014. I look forward to your upcoming articles.
–Bill Langston, director of marketing, New Generation Software