IBM i was born over thirty years ago and has seen many innovations that have kept the platform ahead of the field. With looming staffing changes comes the inherent challenge of closing the knowledge gap and keeping the legacy of IBM i alive and well...
As databases begin to age, so does their source code, and their purpose may also change. Refitting a database to meet the current needs of business often requires modification to the database at the field level, which can have all kinds of undesirable consequences if it is not executed with the greatest of care.
A constant challenge for a Chief Information Officer in a transactional, data-heavy industry is leveraging the legacy of their IBM i platform to adapt to current needs, essentially using it to its fullest potential. Keeping that potential tapped translates into a flexible and agile platform, driving growth for your business, an important aspect to keep in mind when approaching the demands of IT.
First let’s answer the question: why modernize your IBM i applications anyway? Well, many IBM i modernization projects don’t start until after a major production failure, so getting out ahead of problems saves you time, pain and resources. Secondly, many IBM i specific skills like RPG or 4GL development are becoming more and more scarce, meaning time could be running out.
The biggest concern that IBM i companies are struggling with is finding good RPG resources. For sure, if you look at things from only that angle, you have every chance of being very, very disappointed. The average age is above 50 and you can roughly get only one developer for the cost of two, not very exciting.
Back from a trip in different countries in Asia, I’ve clearly seen that the situation in the IBM i market is rather different from Europe and North America – apart from Japan of course, which definitely resembles these two large areas.