<HUGE snip>

| This is one of the easiest ways I've seen for the IT department
| to actually
| work AGAINST the goals of the rest of the business.  I've said plenty on
| that issue, in prior posts.  Obviously, this is not a good thing,
| but the IT
| departments believe they are doing the right thing, by supporting
| the "best"
| platform (which happens to be the one they know how to work on)...  I hate
| to belabor the point, but there are significant monetary losses being
| suffered, simply because of the politics of OS platforms.  You can't do a
| whole lot about Gates vs. Linus vs. McNealy vs. Ellison...  But
| maintaining
| two, three, four or more OS platforms in a business is NOT a step in the
| right direction, IMV.

I'd like to illustrate the point, and pay my Wife a compliment, all at the
same time...!

After I got a new boss, VP of IT (or equivalent), who stated that effective
Jan. 1, 1995, there would be NO new development on the 400, I got the
hint...  We gave it our best shot for about 8 months, because we all liked
the company, and hated looking for new jobs.

Then all 4 of us 400 staff gave up, and within 2 weeks found jobs.  (Those
were the good ole days...)  Company was about $200 million at the time.

I ended up consulting back, for the first year, part time, along with 2
"consultants".  My Wife quit her job, and consulted back to our former
employer, replacing all 3 of us.  (I did a little work for the company, of
and on, but it was very little.)

So from '96 to 2000, she held down the fort, full-time.  They hired a few
consultants, from time to time, and one full-time 400 person eventually.
AFAIK, almost all their time went to the *nix conversion project.  They may
have done some "useful" work...;-)  But I don't actually recall them
completing any projects, other than the conversion.  I'll have to verify
that with my Wife.  She "wasted" a lot of time showing these others a few
things, so it was probably a wash...

But I can say for a fact that she, essentially if not in actual fact, did
ALL the coding and support for the 400 systems, for 4 years.  They ran JDE
and custom line-of-business apps.  They had staff to handle operations and
P.O.S. but she spent an awful lot of time supporting them, as well.  She
supported the IT director, as well, who concentrated on everything except
the 400.

Now, she's not what I would call real technical.  That means she's doesn't
eat, breathe and live this stuff, like I do at times.  She has no interest
in these lists, and almost never reads my posts.  She's decided to get her
MBA, because she doesn't really enjoy coding, like I do.

She's more of a people-person, than I am...  and I learned a lot from her,
in that respect.

Still she (with a little help from me) kept that 400 together, and did a few
modifications to the core systems (as few as necessary, given that the
conversion was perpetually "imminent").  The company grew from about $200M
to around $500M...

Now, I knew my Wife, Karen, was good...  Had another guy, just as good.  But
my lead programmer was REAL good...  It just sort of dawned on me, slowly,
how good Karen did.  She WAS basically the IT department in a company that
grew from $200M to $500M.

I know of a lot of similar 400 shops.  One person can do it all.  But it
just sort of hit me that, even in 400 shops, it's probably extremely rare
for a $500M company to have a technical staff of 1 1/2.  (And I'm being
charitable to call myself the 1/2, because I had my own clients I worked on

That says an awful lot about her...  But to get this back on topic, that
says an AWFUL LOT about the advantages of having all your business apps on 2
tiers.  (The store POS systems were OS/2-based PCs.)  Karen supported both,
because she helped install the store systems.  (AFAIK, they're still running
essentially the same systems, 10 years later...  Just in a lot more stores,
than when I was there.)

I also think it helps, IMMENSELY, if one of those tiers is a 400.  With the
cost of 400s coming down so much, and the average sales of the stores rising
as the chain grew, I'd put an iSeries out in each of these stores, if I had
it to do over.  Any platform can SAY it's easy to administer.  I just don't
think they have the customer testimonials to back it up...

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