• Subject: Re: IBM Spin Doctors on AS/400 Marketing
  • From: DAsmussen@xxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 8 Nov 1997 04:32:33 -0500 (EST)


AOL burned me again and somehow sent the last message before I was done with
it.  The point I was trying to make about OS/2 was that _my_ machine stays up
via CM/2 when the other 15 go down _at least_ once per day via Windoze.
 Here's the rest...

In a message dated 97-11-05 03:32:41 EST, you write:

>  And...
>  "Management is stupid so IBM needs to counter the non-existant Microsoft
>  ads with ads that will convince management that AS/400s are hip and cool.
>  The proof that this is necessary is the bunch of anecdotes we can recite
>  about stupid mistakes."
>  No substance, nothing. If I didn't know better, I'd say you were a pointy
>  haired boss. Isn't that what you would say about someone who made such a
>  judgement based on anecdotes they read on the internet?

No, it's the "pointy haired bosses" that are making these decisions.  Are you
saying that contributors to MIDRANGE-L are ALL to be disbelieved?  I was not
referring to any OTHER source of information or anecdotes when I said in part
"it _IS_ the Internet, after all" (Oh yeah, there are _TONS_ of credible
AS/400 references out there on the 'Net).  What I was _TRYING_ to say was
that if you believed even HALF of the responses to this thread (which you
have obviously not read), you would still have a good case _AGAINST_ your
"people do the right thing for the company" premise.

>  Here's a harsh reality for you, Dean: 100% up time with no applications
>  isn't worth as much to upper management as 50% up time with one
>  application.
>  10,000 applications they don't want < 1 they do.

Well, I must admit that you lost me here.  Guess that _that_ reality is not
so harsh as you envisioned :-D!

>  So, 500,000 AS/400 installs indicates that there are still valued
>  applications on them. Similar indications from mainframes and Unix
>  platforms. 

I can go with that.

>  But, as the APPLICATIONS capture the interest of the buying public, NT
>  will happily overtake other platforms. The solution? I think it is to
>  develop and market APPLICATIONS which run on the AS/400. Brand name
>  recognition is important. It can help to close a deal and it does help to
>  get the foot in the door. I would like to see Rochester enhance AS/400
>  brand recognition, but I do understand that advertising the AS/400 might
>  not bring as much business to that platform as simply advertising IBM as a
>  solutions provider for hot topic applications and then turning those
>  buyers to the AS/400 once in the door.

I fail to see why you think that a mere IBM "solution provider" ad would be
as effective as an AS/400 ad.  How many IBM-run installations have you been
subjected to?  When the /400 first came out, IBM "solution providers" were
more clueless than the few hardy non-IBM souls from the /36 & /38 that took
the time to read the manuals.  IBM "professed unto their dying breath" that
S/36E programs ran as well on the /400 as they did on the 5363 for God's
sake!  If IBM provides the same level of incompetence on their ES/9K and
RS/6K installations as they did on the five AS/400 installations of which
I've been a unfortunate enough to be a member of a BP firm with them on, I'd
_NEVER_ purchase _ANOTHER_ product from them!

>  >Ummmm, what did you say you'd been doing for the last twenty years?  Are
>  >_SERIOUSLY_ saying that you _HAVEN'T_ yet received the "UNIX is taking
>  >the world" speech from upper management somewhere??!!  NT is the 
>  >replacement for UNIX in the _NEW_ "taking over the world" catchphrase.
>  >all, it's
>  >so "OPEN".  Ye Gods!  The only way that I was able to avoid the UNIX
>  >onslaught in past "real job" positions was to do some serious research
>  >present real dollars to management regarding what it would take to switch
>  >from our current platform to UNIX.  This also involved asking "just which
>  >platform would you like?", "just what flavor of UNIX would you like (AIX,
>  >HP/UX, SCO, Open/VAX)?", and "what database/security system would you
>  like?".
>  > UNIX has been a ubiquitous presence in the life of every single IS
>  >and IBM salesperson for _AT LEAST_ the last ten years -- I find it
>  >to believe that you would present this as an argument.
>  More anecdote crap which supports nothing. Sorry you had trouble holding a
>  real job. Unix never had much of a foothold in the gaming industry in Las
>  Vegas. It never bothered me. 

Gee Chris, this was meant to be in the spirit of passionate discourse until
your previous statement.  "More anecdote crap"?  "Sorry you had trouble
holding a real job"?  The latter sounds more like a _personal_ attack than an
argument for your position.  Never believed it before, but you _must_ be a
liberal, as I've heard that liberals result to personal attacks when they
have no facts to back up their position.  I mentioned nothing about having
trouble holding a "real" job, and have not experienced any difficulty in this
area at all (other than getting bored with it rather quickly).

Of course, the "gaming" industry is such a ubiquitous presence in the data
processing industry.  You've got, what, maybe 1,800 installations for your
application?  As opposed to 18,000 installations for the BPCS manufacturing
package alone (Gartner Group numbers, not "anecdote crap")?  Throw in SAP, JD
Edwards, MAPICS, and PRISM, and you easily quadruple the BPCS 18,000 number
-- with numerous small packages in between.  

You seem to have missed my joking references to "real" jobs (most "normal"
people don't consider consulting or computing a "real" job -- had a cohort
years ago whose father wanted _him_ to "quit this computer crap" and get a
"real" job pounding spikes with the railroad, he now makes $300K/year in
computers vs. $10/hour for the railroad -- _NO_ anecdote).  I'll offer an
open invitation to anyone who has not fallen asleep by this point in the note
to offer your own UNIX "anecdotes" wherein management asked you to replace an
IBM system for no apparent reason, because UNIX was "OPEN".

>  By the way, perhaps the reason you had trouble with management is your
>  failing to understand what your job is. Riding along on IBM's platform is
>  fun, but it is your job to explore the cost/benefit of other platforms and
>  explore alternatives. Rather than bitch that you were forced to show that
>  to upper management, you should consider the fact that only really stupid
>  managers would not bother to explore alternatives.

The only times that I've had problems with management as you describe was
when they tried to force UNIX or some other "flavor of the month" (did
someone say JAVA?) down my throat for no apparent reason.  "Mr. AS/400" has
obviously not been exposed to the "real world" of IS politics.  I understand
fully "what my job is", which is why I prefer consulting to a "real" job.  In
consulting I can avoid office politics, and dispassionately tell management
that they don't need my services (or those of the 1-15 employees that are
providing same), but need to look into "solution X".  I can also tell
"management" that their idea is _STUPID_ without getting fired from a job
that my wife and kids depend on -- the client can cancel my contract, but
I'll be working for a company that appreciates my abilities tomorrow.  BTW,
I've _NEVER_ been canceled.

I was _NOT_ "bitching" about having to provide management with a CBA in order
to avoid the installation of a UNIX system.  I was, if you insist, "bitching"
about needing to provide it in the first place.  There was no way in Hades
that we could afford a new system, even if it was a simple upgrade to our
present system, yet these idiots thought that tagging it with the UNIX God
would magically cause "Corporate" to "cough up the big bucks" to replace
everything we had with a UNIX-based system when a simple memory/DASD upgrade
would have had the same (without retraining) effect.  Amazing that, when
presented with the retraining costs of the IS department (small) and the user
base (EXTRA large), management always changed their minds on the jump to
UNIX.  The platform ended up being irrelevant.

>  >No offense, but how often can you contradict yourself?  You've done it in
>  >your other notes on this subject, but do you not see the irony in
>  >NT's omnipresence in "the trades" and stating in the same breath that
>  >can't change that with some glossy ads"?  NT has _NO_ "new, flashy,
>  >rich applications".  As was stated in an article on this thread before,
>  >_ONE_ application for which you should purchase NT.  I didn't think you
>  >could.  So, why is everyone purchasing NT other than management edicts
>  >the "that's the way everyone's going" mentality?
>  Dean, I think this really indicates where you completely miss the point.
>  As has been pointed out (not by me) NT is NOT being advertised. As has
>  been pointed out (by me), NT makes headlines in the trades all the time.
>  How? With a zillion articles on applications. My argument is that IBM
>  needs to get applications that will make trade press in the same way.
>  Yours is that IBM should pay for glossy ads. 

Who's missing the point?  Please re-read my preceding paragraph.  I'm saying
that Management is the reason that people are buying NT.  With the exception
of a few IS folks that buy it to make themselves more marketable (I know of
one in particular, and Lord knows the idiot needs all the help he can get).
 For the umpteenth time, I _AGREE_ that NT isn't being advertised (and please
quit lumping in my responses with those few portions with which you agree, or
have bothered to read, from other respondents).  I also never asked that IBM
spend _ALL_ of it's advertising dollars on your so-called "glossy ads" for
the AS/400.  _DOGGONE_ it, I _AGREED_ with you on IBM splitting revenue
dollars with viable application solution providers to raise platform
visibility!  All I want is some brand recognition for the AS/400 (less than
10% of IBM's annual advertising budget, and IBM is about to have _NONE_ other
than "that services company".

>  NT has a LOT of new, feature rich applications. Data warehousing, credit
>  management systems, accounting, groupware, etc., etc. Name one I would
>  buy? READ MY GODDAMN TAG, DEAN. I wouldn't buy them. That doesn't
>  mean I
>  am so dense I won't admit they are there. In a few years, I will be buying
>  NT apps, because NT will reach the stability of the AS/400 and there won't

Chris, please take the time to actually _READ_ what I've sent to you.  I
bought NT/Workstation because it's what my customers are moving to.  Do I
enjoy the shortage of available applications for NT?  No.  Do I enjoy having
to download 16-bit versions of programs because they'll work on '95 in 32-bit
mode but not NT?  No.  Do I enjoy NetSoft's "oh yeah, we do NT too" attitude?
 No.  Even as an NT user, I would not recommend to a single customer that
they adopt NT as a standard.  Unfortunately, (and correctly IMHO), large
customers have identified NT/Workstation as an alternative preferable to
WIN'95 as a Y2K compliant replacement for Win 3.1.  As with any platform, I'd
have to evaluate your mentioned NT applications each to its own individual

>  Perhaps your problem, Dean, is that you don't actually read the trade mags
>  or research products. If you insist on management by anecdote you will
>  soon be the subject of a Dilbert cartoon.

I've "let myself go" far too often lately (probably much to David's chagrin),
so I'll not bring myself down to your level on this.  For your personal
edification, I pay for and read nearly $500/year worth of "trade mags", not
to mention the nearly equal number that I receive and read for free.  You've
taken my _ONE_ mention of anecdotal evidence, all of which came from THIS
LIST, and parlayed it into some sort of discredit for everything I have
mentioned.  AGAIN, will you discredit _EVERYONE_ on the list?  I absolutely
_DO NOT_ insist on management by anecdote, and was merely pointing out that
not everything that appears here can be taken for "The Gospel Truth".
 However, even taking only 25% of the responses to this thread as being
truthful, _YOU_ are _SADLY_ outnumbered in your opinion, Sir.

Good Day, Indeed,

Dean Asmussen
Enterprise Systems Consulting, Inc.
Fuquay-Varina, NC  USA
E-Mail:  DAsmussen@aol.com

"So a man said to God, 'What's a million years to you?'  God replied 'It's a
second.'  So the man asked of God, 'What's a million dollars to you?'  God
replied, 'A penny'.  So the man said to God 'Will you give me a penny?'  God
said 'Yes I will -- in a second.' " -- Unknown

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