2023 IBM i Predictions, Part 4
February 1, 2023 Timothy Prickett Morgan
We are still getting predictions coming in from the IBM i community, and so we have extended this to 2023 IBM i Predictions, Part 4, even though we are now into February and technically the Prediction Season is unofficially over. You can’t really say “Happy New Year!” starting today, either, not with Punxsutawney Phil coming out of the ground to prognosticate about the short term winter/spring weather tomorrow.
Several people from modernization tool maker and cloud provider Fresche Solutions piped up with their predictions. Marcel Sarrasin, newly appointed as chief services officer and general manager of the transformation business at the company, had this to say:
“For some industries the great resignation was more about the great job switch but for the IBM i market it’s more like the great retirement. We work with more and more companies who are being impacted by RPG programmers retiring and in some cases it’s their only IBM i expert remaining or the last programmer familiar with certain core applications. It’s a big risk and the need to replace those resources, whether with a full-time replacement or a partial replacement for business continuity, is critical. The need to modernize is as important as ever but with economic uncertainty we foresee more companies wanting to take a more incremental or staged approach, starting off with small pieces such as the UI or database and then moving on to code transformation.”
“2023 will be a year of connectivity,” Sarrasin continues. “APIs have proven to be the catalysts of transformation for digital businesses, and today’s emerging API trends now promise to deliver even more value as organizations seek better integration with their RPG, COBOL, and other homegrown and ERP systems. APIs have become indispensable connective tissue for IBM i shops that bring together a growing and changing world of digital business applications. As API development continues to skyrocket, organizations will be focused on simplifying API management, enhanced API security and new API architectures that support faster times to implement.”
Jeff Lovette, chief revenue officer at Fresche, had this to say:
“Organizations are quickly realizing that having the right skills and team of experts who understand your systems is key when it comes to integrating IBM i applications with other technologies, developing new applications, adopting cloud and managed services, securing IBM i applications and conducting digital transformation projects. Securing an IT partner who will learn the systems, augment your team, and bring critical skills where needed will help pave the way for future success – allowing businesses to stay agile and responsive to their customers’ changing demands. In 2022, organizations that took advantage of these advancements in technology are reaping the rewards – if you haven’t started don’t wait any longer! Start planning today for your business’s future success.”
Augmented analytics solutions will become an important part of everyone’s IBM i strategy in 2023,” Lovette added. “Big data is driving the need for intuitive, intelligent tools for data preparation, analysis, and visualization, leading to improved decision making and better customer service. With IBMs launch of CONDOR in 2023, businesses will also start to explore the potential of quantum computing, allowing them to solve complex problems faster than ever before. Cloud adoption will be widespread, allowing IT teams to park their IBM i operations on the cloud and benefit from reduced costs and improved scalability. This move will enable businesses to focus IT spending on re-invention, innovation, and strategic initiatives rather than further growing their technical debt with infrastructure they no longer need. The switch to work from home strategies and reduced need for brick and mortar is further compounding the need for web based applications and online access.”
And finally, Christine McDowell, vice president of corporate marketing and business development at Fresche – and who cut her teeth programming and administering IBM midrange machines back in the day – added her reading of the IBM i tea leaves for 2023:
“Staffing and skill challenges will continue to rise as the demand for experienced professionals grows faster than the supply of qualified individuals with IBM i, RPG, COBOL, and IBM i ERP experience,” says McDowell. “As a result, application support services and managed services will grow exponentially. In working with organizations, this is about more than resources and skills. Businesses are moving 100 miles an hour and IT infrastructure are moving at 20 miles an hour. In 2023 IT will be forced to catch up and align with the business however it can. This is going to have organizations seeking out new, agile, and flexible engagement models.”
“2023 is going to see the largest infiltration of cyberthreats this community has ever seen,” McDowell continued. “Security, while it is at the forefront, will be catapulted into the number one priority spot becomes a priority, requiring organizations to upgrade their existing security protocols and adopt new ones in order to protect themselves against multiple threats, including external attacks as well as malicious insiders.”
John Dominic, global vice president at high availability and system monitoring software maker Maxava, looked into his crystal ball and had this to say:
“In the high availability space, we are expecting to see more companies explore large migration projects in 2023 as many customers are aging out of Power8 and planning a move up to Power10 without taking production offline,” Dominic says. “There is a growing appetite for public cloud options as well – especially among the smaller customers who are struggling to keep up with the hardware cycle as their in-house IBM specialists retire. Add a dash of concern about economic downturn this year and I suspect many customers will look to rethink the basic “renew and repeat” philosophy. The coronavirus pandemic held up a lot of projects. I suspect there will also be a larger push than usual for improved performance this year, because if you are going to make a change – now is a good time to do it right and make it last.”
And finally, I will say this: Making predictions would be a whole lot easier if it wasn’t about figuring out the future. And as an IT journalist and analyst, it is truly the fun part of the job. When I do so, I tend to keep the aperture wide open and therefore the error bars as large as possible and think of things probabilistically.
The only way to truly predict the future is to live it, and we are going to do that right alongside you here in 2023. Speaking very generally, we think that there will be more consolidation in the IBM i software and services sectors this year, but that stands to reason as company owners have put in their 35, 40, 45, or even 50 years in the IBM i midrange field. I don’t like such consolidation because it reduces the variability – and therefore the health – of the IBM i ecosystem. I only hope that more companies enter the field and some smaller companies can grow to fill in niches and compete – and compete well – against the increasing number of equity-backed conglomerates out there.
2023 IBM i Predictions, Part 3
2023 IBM i Predictions, Part 2