Profound and Connectria Hook Up in Cloud-Modernization Push
October 21, 2020 Alex Woodie
IBM i modernization tool provider Profound Logic and Connectria, one of the biggest private cloud providers for IBM i, announced a strategic partnership last week. The goal of the union, representatives with both companies say, is to give their respective IBM i customers a leg up as they seek to streamline their IT systems.
Matt Biegacki, the vice president and chief marketing officer for Connectria, and Michael Killian, the vice president of strategic accounts for Profound Logic, shared their thoughts on the partnership during a call with IT Jungle this week.
From Profound Logic’s perspective, the partnership with Connectria makes sense because it will give IBM i customers that are already engaged with an application modernization initiative more options for obtaining IBM i resources and managing those IBM i resources, Killian says.
“Every client has a different issue that they need to address,” Killian says. “A lot of clients we’re talking to are very interested in some type of modernization or transformation initiative, but they have an urgent issue that they need to take care of before they actually move forward with that initiative.”
With more than 500 LPARs under management, Connectria is one of the largest managed service providers (MSPs) in the IBM i ecosystem. The St. Louis, Missouri-based company makes IBM i resources available via private clouds, and also will manage IBM i shops’ own servers for them as part of a remote management offering.
Smaller organizations may not have a dedicated development box, or even a development LPAR, so having Connectria’s IBM i resources available to spin up as needed helps meet the needs of Profound’s customers, Killian says.
“The partnership can help solve that issue for the clients,” he says. “We can say, ‘Hey whatever you need from a hardware perspective, we can do that.'”
From Connectria’s point of view, the partnership with Dayton, Ohio-based Profound makes sense because it puts application modernization and transformation front and center in Connectria’s current installed base, which is in need of those solutions, Biegacki says.
“Yes, we have a couple of enterprise customers. But in that upper SMB mid-market customer, we still see a lot of need there,” he says. “They are a little bit of a laggard into some of these other solutions and into some of the transformation conversations. So the customer we’re talking to every day is really kind of coming of age, and it’s really the right time for us to be having that conversation.”
Profound brings a host of modernization tools to the table, as well as professional services to implement them. It starts out with Genie, which can be used in a tactical manner to Web-enable 5250 screens in a short amount of time (there’s also a mobile version of Genie). The company’s flagship product is Profound UI, which can be used to fundamentally transform RPG applications into modern Web-based applications. The company also offers Profund.js, for transforming IBM i applications into Node.js applications, as well as Profound API, for exposing existing applications as microservices or Web services.
As Connectria’s customers look to modernize their IBM i applications, the ability to bring these tools and Profound’s services to bare on those modernization initiative will pay dividends to all parties involved, Biegacki says.
“What we realized from Profound is that there’s not a one-solution-fits-all for modernization,” he says. “As we work through our higher SMB into midmarket customers, everybody is looking for an approach that’s catered to what their application set is. So one of the things that’s great about Profound is they’re able to provide that expertise. Because we are hearing from customers ‘Hey, I don’t have the [budget] to continue dedicating as much resources against these projects. We need somebody to go in and modernize and transform for us.’ Profound is the group we can trust to bring into those conversations.”
Connectria ostensibly is a hardware player and Profound deals mostly in software. But when it comes to application modernization, it takes combination of hardware and software — all mixed in with services and packaged tools — to accomplish the goal, and that’s the real strength of this new partnership at the end of the day.
“Our transformation offerings allow organizations to transform their code as they see fit,” Killian says. “It gives clients that flexibility to say, hey let’s keep all of this on IBM i. But then let’s look at moving this piece to the cloud, because they want to scale it to a certain degree and we’re not sure what that’s going to do.
“So that modernization or transformation project with a partner like Connectria allows us to not only address the application side of things, but also the hardware side of things,” Killian continues. “Often they work hand in hand, and they need to be part of the overall strategic solution that clients are looking for.”
The aging of the pool of IBM i professionals is another major issue that factors into these decisions. As IBM i administrator and programmers get older and retire, they’re getting harder to replace, Biegacki says. In many instances, those holes in the personnel department provide more fuel to the argument to shift from a capital expenditure model (i.e. running your own server) to an operational expenditure model (i.e. renting somebody else’s server).
“We see that coming up a lot,” Biegacki says. “I can move CapEx into OpEx, which frees up not only dollars but frees up time and resources so I can start figuring out how to build an IT team as more of a services organization as opposed to just a back-office hardware management organization.”
Last but not least, the two company’s share a similar heritage and culture that’s bound around this thing called IBM i. Connectria has a “No Jerks Allowed” mantra, which reflects its people-centered focus. Profound is now a part of that, and from the sound of it, it’s all good.
“A lot of organizations are partnering because of technology,” Killian says. “We look at it as, partnering is a marriage. We’re kind of getting together and we want to not only provide a great technical solution, but we want to enjoy the partnership itself from a cultural perspective and a value perspective. There’s a really nice fit there for the organizations.”