Reader Feedback On IBM i Strategy: Technology Choices And The Vendor Ecosystem
January 29, 2018 Dan Burger
While Steve Will’s vision for 5 to 15 years out is encouraging and morale-building, it’s not a commitment to the i marketplace – it’s called a “statement of direction” for a reason! I’ll nod in agreement that it’s all good while hoping IBM delivers not only on AI but on enhanced “primitive” processes necessary to make AI useful, if not valuable.
AI is based on events, transactions, and business rules. Without the primitives — robust and high-performance database technology; extreme hardware/software platform stability; and programming technologies that support the development, testing, deployment, and maintenance of complex business rules – the data that drives AI may not be complete and/or reliable. “Garbage in, garbage out” still applies!
In my business as an ISV dedicated to the transportation and logistics sector, I see a couple of key AI applications: interpreting hand-written documents in hundreds of formats, optimizing the transportation components to reduce cost and/or transit time, and forecasting/communicating delivery schedules. These capabilities rely on business transactions captured accurately and in near real-time, which is why “improvements to primitive processes remain critical to realizing the downstream benefit of AI.” An interesting benefit of AI is that it’s recursive — AI should be able to determine if the data it’s working with is valid for the process.
ISVs can’t take IBM’s 15-year plan to their developers, customers, or the bank. What will help ISVs is knowledge of what’s around the corner (upcoming capabilities that represent achievable, incremental goals for ISVs and their customers) and ongoing platform education. The next five years should be interesting.
— Reeve Fritchman
Lots of good points in your email. Thanks for sending it.
The message Steve Will delivers is a message of hope. It’s also a message designed to counteract the well-circulated stories that IBM is no longer investing in IBM i and that the system is a dinosaur incapable of modern computing. There are IBM i-based organizations that have built impressively modern systems with capabilities that bear little resemblance to the best systems of 15 years ago. There are also plenty of stories of organizations that have attempted to leave the platform and, after lengthy and costly forays that have proved to be futile, have returned to what worked best for them. Changing the minds of people set in their ways is the type of “religious war” that we see all around us today. It’s the biggest rock Steve needs to push up the hill.