We are not ready to announce IBM i 7.2 yet, but the pre-announce activity has been rolling along. Last week I gave a preview of the release to some customers and partners in “Early Ship Program” – customers from India. Then I talked to two different large customers about IBM i Trends & Directions, and they received a short preview as well. (Yes, non-disclosure agreements are in place, in case any IBM executives are reading this. No worries there!)
In my recent customer visits, I have been reminded once again what a “double-edged sword” we have created as we’ve allowed customers to remain on older technology without forcing them to modernize.
I have seen customers that are growing rapidly who are inhibited by database designs that are older than the AS/400. Despite the relational database capabilities that have been a part of this operating system for more than 25 years, they are still running their businesses using older flat-file or hierarchical designs. Now that they are growing, and trying to interoperate with more modern technologies such as Web services, they are hitting limitations that will hamper their ability to handle that growth.
Most of the customers I have seen recently who are encountering this issue are undertaking projects to restructure their data and applications to allow for their present and future needs. Some people like the word “modernization” and some don’t. Whatever you call it, this is something people in IT really need to see as part of the lifecycle of business software. You can ignore it for a while – sometimes for a long while, if you’re using an operating system that continues to support technologies as long as IBM i does – but eventually you have to deal with the changing requirements of your business processes.
That’s why “Modernization” is going to be a big topic for this year. And it’s why we’re about to publish the modernization Redbooks publication. Jon and Susan mentioned it in their blog about Predictions for 2014. Tim talked about it in his iModernization blog last fall. Soon, we’ll be spreading the links around as the book gets published. I have been looking forward to this set of material for a long time, and I am excited that it’s almost “ready for prime-time” because it’s something customers need. We all know that the modern IBM i platform has much more capability than the systems we sold in the ‘90s. We just need to use it that way!