The IBM i celebration continues with a new chapter on Facebook paying tribute to business partners, who have led the way over the years in bringing IBM i to market with high levels of customer satisfaction. Roughly 60% of year-to-year IBM i channel revenue is realized through its business partners. Reminiscing with us on the subject today is Stan Staszak, Director of Power Systems Solutions at Sirius Computer Solutions.
Happy 25th anniversary…or should I say, happy birthday, IBM i! Back in 1988, I was in college, trying to figure out my future. The platform is a lot like me 25 years later…it’s still strong, secure, reliable and sexy (OK, maybe the last one is a bit of a stretch). Even after all of these years, it still provides the same characteristics—legendary reliability, terrific scalability, bulletproof security, easy management and great ROI. It’s a terrific platform to ‘bet your job on’…over the past 20 years I’ve worked with literally hundreds of clients and I’ve never known a single one who lost his job (or his good reputation) for deciding to host his business’ workload on IBM i.
I started my IBM career back in 1989 as a point-of-sale and PC customer engineer. In 1992, one of my colleagues and I decided that we wanted to move into midrange systems. We both interviewed for two different job openings…one in the RS/6000 practice and one in the AS/400 practice. I’d had a little exposure to the AS/400, so I was somewhat familiar with the platform. Like Harry Potter waiting for the Sorting Hat’s house assignment, we waited with earnest anticipation for the respective hiring managers to decide if they wanted us and, if so, where we would go. As luck or fate would have it, I was chosen to move into the AS/400 practice. This simple twist of fate had a significant impact on my career. After moving into the new group, I attended the last ‘System/36 Basic Foundation’ class and devoted myself to training. In addition to the invaluable IBM education, I was fortunate that the local community college (Moraine Valley) had an AS/400 curriculum. I still remember how intuitive the green-screen interface was to pick up and I had some great mentors who took me under their wings and provided a lot of guidance. My advice to anyone starting out in IT today; if you want to excel, you need to embrace education…both on and off the job. I spent the remainder of my IBM years in the AS/400 group…first as a customer engineer and subsequently as a senior IT/specialist.
I vividly remember the first time I met Dr. Frank Soltis in Rochester, Minn. I knew of him by reputation but expected some stuffy and conservative computer scientist. Instead, here was a cool and dynamic individual talking about cars and his real passion…the AS/400. His enthusiasm was contagious! I’ve spent a lot of time in Rochester over the years where, among other things, I had the privilege of working on a Redbooks residency and on the Academic Advisory Committee for IBM i. Both experiences were really rewarding…although I’m still not sure why it seems I always wound up in Rochester during the middle of winter ;-)
I moved over to Sirius Computer Solutions almost 14 years ago because it was (and continues to be) the largest IBM i solution provider in the world. For the past decade, I’ve shared brand management responsibility and managed a large group of talented Power Systems engineers (both presales and consultants). As a Premier IBM Business Partner, Sirius is called upon to size, design and implement solutions to transform and modernize our clients’ IT environments. Over the years we’ve branched out into a lot of different areas, but Power Systems is still our flagship server brand. IT budgets continue to get tighter and CIOs are looking for ways to optimize their environments and reduce costs while still delivering better Service Level Agreements to their business units. The price/performance of the IBM i platform is truly better than ever. One of my favorite responsibilities is educating our customers and sales force on new platform announcements/enhancements. I love meeting with our clients to better understand their unique environments and business challenges. Our goal is to architect best-of-breed solutions to meet these needs.
I’ve had customers over the years ask me what additional ISV applications they could host or port over to IBM i. This wasn’t for ‘self-preservation’ reasons, but because they understood the value of the platform and wanted to sleep well at night. I continue to meet people who are proud to say that they are associated in some way with the IBM i platform…that is a rare quality in this ‘commoditized’ industry. In addition to ERP applications, it is a great solution for database serving, application development, Web services and analytics.
I’m amazed and grateful that even after all these years, the IBM i platform is still relevant. In many ways (like performance, scalability and virtualization) it’s actually better than ever! The latest and greatest version, i 7.1, is the most powerful, dynamic and flexible to date. Newly supported technology, like SmartCloud Entry and Live Partition Mobility, is really exciting! I’m also thrilled that the IBM i operating system is supported on IBM’s newest hardware platform…PureSystems. PureFlex is a terrific option for data-center consolidation projects. As a loyal fan, I’m glad that IBM is continuing to invest in the development of the IBM i platform and truly honored to be asked to participate in the celebration. In some weird coincidence; the release date of this chapter coincides with my own birthday. I know that I plan to toast the best business platform in history on our joint birthdays. Here’s wishing you another 25 years of continued success!