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The Value of Modernization

IBM i Offering Manager Alison Butterill talks about a continued commiment to modernization and innovation.

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A few years ago, I was asked to do a presentation at a local user group called “The Value of Modernization.” My immediate response was that they were requesting a discussion of green screen versus graphical interfaces. Surely, that was what everyone thought of when they thought about modernization. Easy, I thought.  

If I were asked to do the same topic today, I wouldn’t consider using the same approach or even many of the same slides. Today, the term “modernization” has expanded beyond the application look and feel. 

Today’s applications run on the most modern hardware and firmware to ensure the highest levels of performance and security. Today’s applications include new technology like robotics, AI, the Internet of Things (IoT), open-source environments and cloud technology for infrastructure decisions. In short, they not only run the business, they improve the business.

Staying Current Is the Best Security Defense

Let’s explore these application choices a little further, working from the bottom up in the stack.  

Technology advancements are happening fast. To quote the Olympic motto, “Swifter, Higher, Stronger,” staying current in software and hardware is the best defense for engaging the best performance and security. Infrastructure modernization is an ongoing activity. It’s where applications run. While the initial thought that jumps to mind is the physical server and OS, it’s also critical to stay current with networking equipment, cables, switches, adapters, internet connections and even latest versions of software.  

Companies are evaluating where it makes most sense to have their infrastructure. For many organizations, having their infrastructure inside their own data center is the best strategy. Others determine that running their machine on-premises is less attractive and they move to a cloud-based solution. And still others find that the best implementation is a blend of on-prem and cloud. The key is to do what makes the best business sense from a financial perspective and a business perspective. 

IBM i Integrates New Technology

IBM i is continually reinventing itself. In IBM i 7.3 and IBM i 7.4, updated functionality in the database, the enhanced security protocols and the new open-source capabilities allow applications to embrace new technologies while protecting critical business data. 

A modern application today is a blend of coding languages. Modernizing business applications to include integration with AI, cognitive technologies and IoT means using open-source languages such as Python and Node.js. The concepts of Agile development and modular programming are proven to provide significant productivity as well as responsiveness to business needs. 

Companies choosing to modernize their applications often find that they can reuse pieces of code from their older applications. This “code mining” helps mitigate the risk and reduce the time to completion. Building in new Db2* for i functionality adds better security and control of critical business data.

Modernized by Innovators

Mobile is where people today live. They “get” the interface. Responding to the needs of the business would require modernization to support today’s user experience paradigms.

If I were asked today to deliver a presentation on “the value of modernization,” I would approach this topic a lot differently than I did back then. Modernization has many aspects—everything from the infrastructure to the user experience and from security to cloud to AI. It’s good to know that the IBM i team builds this level of flexibility into all of the layers. The phrase used last year to describe IBM i was “A Platform for Innovators by Innovators.” Perhaps we should take that a step farther to “A Platform Modernized for Innovators by Innovators who Modernize.” 

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