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May 11, 2009

Pruning the Menu

By Doug Rock

May 10th was Mother’s Day and to celebrate the occasion I had dinner with my parents, sister and my immediate brood at a supper club in the town of Miesville, MN population 137. Seriously, 137. Not 1,370 or 137,000. And I believe all 137 of the town’s inhabitants were having dinner with us at that particular establishment, because the place was packed.

But it’s always packed. The supper club opens at 11:30 a.m. on Sundays (right after church) and at 4:30 p.m. every other day of the week. This is the type of place that delivers a large, iced relish tray with every meal, along with a tub of ranch dressing, a basket of crackers and breadsticks, a bin of rolls and toasted garlic bread and two sticks of butter, each on its own serving dish.

Their signature entrée is prime rib, but the menu is replete with choices that make you believe you’ve been transported back to 1953. This is an environment where it behooves you to prune your opportunities.

 And this is the advice I shared with my mother, as I strategically positioned my bread plate, centered my napkin and studied the black and white menu in the dimly-lit club. “Pruning is good,” she said. “It’s what mothers do.”

Of course, on Mother’s Day, when she’s talking about pruning, my mother is not speaking about rose bushes or hedgerows. She’s talking about her children. She’s referring to the actions she’s taken. A clip of a bad habit here, a trim made to a child’s attitude there, a certain behavior cleanly sheared.

"All things in moderation, no matter the celebration," she said. And just like that, my appetite for potatoes, an overflowing gravy boat and a serving of beef the size of a phone book faltered. My mother was still on the job. I went with the vegetable medley and broiled fish.

Beginning this week the editorial team of IBM Systems Magazine  has begun penning individual blogs we’re collectively calling The Buzz. The objective is to provide readers with insights into what we’re hearing in the IT industry. And there’s a lot going on. Some of what we’ll be covering will be platform agnostic, while other areas of discussion will center on specific operating systems and hardware. I have quite a few topics in mind. I am particularly interested in how IT organizations are managing in these tough economic times. Where have spending cutbacks occurred? Are you putting off certain expenditures and if so, which ones? Are open source alternatives now more alluring? Are you looking at moving off of one operating system and onto another?

I am interested in the Blue Business Platform. Does anyone know what I am referring to? Does anyone care? I am interested in Oracle's purchase of Sun. I am wondering how IBM’s acquisition of Cognos has affected customers. I am interested in the future of technology conferences and trade shows. Are you traveling less this year? I’d like to hear if people are thinking about moving to a blade architecture. I am interested in knowing if you are also having questions about the value of social networks . Mobile technology is hot. How is your IT organization using it? Has anyone purchased a Web notebook? What are your thoughts on the Kindle?

Clearly, I need your pruning expertise. Please send me a note. Let me know what topics you’re interested in (prime rib) or what subjects bore you to tears (vegetables) and we'll cook up some answers. All in moderation, of course.




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Should'a gone with the Prime Rib; Mom would understand ... or forgive.

It is encouraging to know that someone besides myself is concerned and possibly even excited about the future. I have personally been working with IBM mid-range servers since the Apollo program. In my mind there is still great things to be done. In fact, I believe that the greatest thing in computing are still ahead of us. It is the IBM midrange that will open the door. In the mid 1990s my partner and I began development of a concept in computing that is unequalled on any competitive server in the mid-range marketplace. It is the beginnings of RAM Centric ERP systems, seamless data workflow. The following article I recently wrote gives a 40,000 foot perspective of the awesome power that can be achieved by i-series, Power 6 and Power 7 servers. This is technology available to-day, not still a pipe dream of the distant future.

Ram Centric ERP to Define ERP Software Alternative

Call it ram centric ERP, ram centric computing, seamless workflow, workflow ERP, seamless workflow ERP, seamlessly integrated accounting system, or unERP, all of the descriptions fit.
Regardless of what we call it, it represents the most commanding change in information systems in the past 40 years. Businesses can now have the simplest, most powerful seamlessly integrated ERP system ever to be offered in the North American marketplace. Unmatched for its corporate consolidation characteristics, this ram centric ERP seamlessly consolidates all of a company’s data as well as the management team that runs it. Everyone works from the same data so everyone is on the same page. Ironically, the features that so nicely consolidate the entire company also promote geographic expansion and operational diversity like no other ERP system has ever done before.
Promoting pristine data capture, the recording of every transaction captures the who, what, when and where of every thing that happens, the complete set of data characteristics required to analyze virtually anything you will ever need or will ever want to know about your business.
The following list forms a brief summation of the primary items of interest. As you read through the list, we encourage you to stop and think for a moment about each item. Think about what each item might do for your company. Think about the time saved, the ease of use afforded by each item, and the savings afforded by each. Many of the items listed will be new to you. As a result some of the items will also appear meaningless, but only because it is new descriptive of new concepts in ERP system design and processing methodology. The impact of each and every one of these items is significant and the sum of all is nothing short of colossal.
We have grouped them into four categories. Please think attentively about each heading as you read each line on the list of items associated with it
1. The factors we eliminated that the ERP and Information systems industry takes for granted:
a. Integration services
b. Annual and or bi-annual modular updates
c. Long and/or otherwise excessive installation times
d. Source files for internally created data transactions
e. History files for internally created data transactions
f. Successive/multiple screens for data entry of a single record
g. Annual, general systematic data removal

2. The factors we have reduced well below the industry’s standard.
a. Implementation and Operational Complexity
b. The Numbers of detail files required for semi-static summary files may be as low as just three in total – inventory, general ledger and payroll YTD.
c. Update programs to move corporate transaction data from source to active files as we have come to know them have all but disappeared and then in only rare circumstances
d. The number of update programs to move data details from active to history files has been highly reduced because the entire concept of traditional history files is eliminated
e. The numbers of programs required to update summary database files such as general ledger, inventory and employee payroll is reduced to just one.

3. The factors we have raised well above the industry’s standard.
a. Data quality
b. Simplicity
c. Ease of use
d. Use of multi-use and multi-function procedures and processes
e. Consistency in corporate database structure
f. Consistency in data maintenance methodologies
g. Universal consistency in screen design and drop down boxes
h. Utilization of disk space
i. User training
j. Flexibility of vertical applications (all in a single database)

4. The factors we have created that the industry has never before offered.
a. Single point consolidation
b. Emanation
c. Soft Step Diversification
d. Unlimited accounting ledger definition
e. Natural workflow
f. Natural workflow plug in
g. Ram Centric data access
h. Ram Centric user tools
i. Ageless data storage
j. Dynamic user mapping
k. User independent, bi-directional horizontal, and vertical tracking audit trails
l. User assist help-yourself help text
Obviously, iNfinite Answers is an alternative product and service, an alternative to typical off-the-shelf accounting modules and an alternative to typical ERP systems. iNfinite Answers is designed to drive for efficiency, productivity and innovation in service companies, fabricators, light process or job cost manufacturing and all manner of construction. Due to its highly generic nature and ability to rapidly adapt to new environments and uses, more niches will be discovered. Yours may be one of them.
Several pages have been written about many of these topics and are presented in our public access web site. The benefits of each item are frequently shared by other items. In fact, some items cannot exist without others but the most significant of all is where we started at the first of this presentation.

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