Keeping the Faith

We run into many iSeries users who are struggling to convince managers and others that iSeries is the business platform of choice. Some people are incapable of seeing the iSeries as anything other than a "green-screen dinosaur." And, when it comes to establishing a Web presence, be it a simple site or a full e-business offering, many companies don't seem to see the potential thats right under their noses.

Many reasons may be behind this perception problem. However, if you're as convinced as we are of the business potential of the iSeries, here are a few pointers that may help you change a few minds. (If you come upon some arguments that we don't cover in this article, let us know and we'll try to come up with some suggestions for you.)

Perception: The iSeries is too expensive.

Reality: This is an oft-heard cry, even from some of the systems biggest fans. And for those that only count the cost of hardware/software, it's hard to argue against. In the real world, however, things are rarely that simple. In many cases a "less expensive" Windows* or UNIX* solution turns out to be anything but. With the new system there's often a significant increase in the amount of support staff. And, the number of servers required is often much higher than the number original proposed. Even with these higher costs, the service and reliability levels rarely come close to matching the iSeries.

If this sounds all too familiar, you might want to draw your CFOs attention to the latest IDC total cost of ownership (TCO) study, "Server Cost of Ownership in ERM Customer Sites." The study, which is available online (, clearly shows that the iSeries is cheaper than comparable UNIX or Intel*-based solutions.

Perception: Staff for iSeries is too expensive.

Reality: This is one we can never quite understand. Certainly an experienced RPG developer doesn't come cheap, but neither do experienced Windows or UNIX developers. It seems that many iSeries shops create this problem for themselves by being unwilling to take graduates from the many two- and three-year schools and instead insist on "experience." These same folks seem perfectly willing to accept Windows developers with limited experience. A list of schools offering iSeries-related education is available on the IBM Partners in Education Web site.

In recent years, we've trained a number of recent college graduates in-house on the joys of the iSeries. The resulting blend of cultures has been beneficial to the existing iSeries staff, and you'd be amazed at how even the most hard-core C++ programmer can learn to appreciate the power and ease-of-use of RPG IV.

















Jon Paris is a technical editor with IBM Systems Magazine and co-owner of Partner400.

Susan Gantner is a technical editor with IBM Systems Magazine and co-owner of Partner400.

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