Tuesday, October 2, 2012

NonStop you!

There is a message about NonStop to be taken into the enterprise as the NonStop system is proving beneficial and indeed appropriate whenever topics such as Java, Big Data and Cloud Computing are raised – it’s just going to take a lot more engagement by all of us to make it matter! 
Road warriors are an integral part of most vendor companies. We all know who they are, and they rarely miss a user event or convention. For them six or seven flights in a week to visit four or five accounts is merely routine, and living on the edge with respect to not knowing whether flights will be cancelled, or a critical PC (or router or line) needed for a presentation will fail, or even a last minute cancellation by a user, only strengthens their determination.

I know; for thirty plus years, this was the only life I knew, and while it was interrupted a couple of times as I was given different assignments, I seemed to always gravitate back to this lifestyle, but of late, and with the work I am currently doing, I am travelling a lot less. Travelling is addictive and like an addiction, when I stopped doing it a couple of years back, it was tough, but now I don’t miss it all, but when those times to travel do arise and I see yet again those road warriors I know so well, and I can’t help but look back to those times now long gone.

Last week as I waited in Munich for my flight to Dresden, as I headed for the GTUG and the Pan-European GTUG/CONNECT event, I caught sight of a large overhead digital billboard scrolling through advertisements when up came the sign, captured in the photo above, that simply stated “Nonstop you”. Turned out it was a Lufthansa promotion for their new lie-flat beds in business class, wooing, as it was trying to do, those road warriors who were lucky enough to score upgrades in airline networks that gave them a choice of carriers.

The thought of “NonStop you”, however, never left my consciousness, even as I participated in the Dresden event for the NonStop community. So many well-known faces continue to champion products and solutions, whether from HP or the many independent vendors who contribute so much to the community. There is competition between vendors, and that is always evident, with some vendors anxiously watching as their newest prospect wonders off to a competitor’s stand, but since this is all about technology, and where the interests of the user community often gravitate to something new; seasoned road warriors never miss a beat. They have seen it all before and continue to demonstrate a knack for ensuring their products - no matter the feature deficiencies or legacy interfaces - is in the forefront of their prospects considerations.

There is a cricket world championship competition under way in Sri Lanka. It’s down to the last couple of teams, with the finalists once again the countries that are dominant in this sport – that’s right. England was eliminated only a day or so ago. “ESPN The Magazine” senior writer, Wright Thompson, is in Sri Lanka covering the final games and in an article updated September 30, 2012, “Sri Lanka team, nation look ahead” he wrote of how “There's a line I love from a novel about Sri Lankan cricket called ‘The Legend of Pradeep Mathew,’ set around the 1996 world championship. It describes the power of sports better than anything I remember reading.
"Of course there is little point to sports. But, at the risk of depressing you, let me add two more cents. There is little point to anything. In a thousand years, grass will have grown over all our cities. Nothing of anything will matter. Left-arm spinners cannot unclog your drains, teach your children or cure you of disease. But once in a while, the very best of them will bowl a ball that will bring an entire nation to its feet. And while there may be no practical use in that, there is most certainly value."
Indeed world championships matter little, but they do bring value to a marketplace. When it comes to technology, unfortunately, looking back at technologies, architectures and even some solutions, most of us are amused to look at what we championed four or five years ago, let alone ten or twenty. Whatever happened to Hierarchical Input-Process-Output (HIPO) systems analysis design aid and whatever happened to PL/1? Modular 2? And where today is the once much-lauded .Net heralded as the next best thing, and yet failed to capture the market-share expected versus Java. WebTV anyone? I still have three of those units somewhere in the house.

Value drives the success of any endeavor and road warriors know this – it’s what gets them back on the plane every day. For the NonStop community there’s no surprises as to why NonStop systems are still at the heart of many enterprises transaction processing environments – NonStop continues to perform this task so much better than any other platform, even when it’s sometimes perceived as being well past its prime. There’s value in running NonStop. And all through the presentations at last week’s GTUG event this became even more apparent. However, we cannot simply rely on a handful of road warriors to ensure NonStop remains relevant; increasingly, I am convinced it will take even more effort from all of us to ensure the message about the value of NonStop continues to be communicated.

I have just completed a new post to comForte Lounge, “
GTUG and the Pan-European GTUG/CONNECT – well attended and very successful!”, where I wrote of how it really doesn’t take a lot to change perceptions – but that it does take our engagement and our active participation within our companies. My response to seeing (Java, Clouds and Big Data) topics being covered, as aggressively as they were, was to simply remonstrate with the audience of how, yes, we can change perceptions! Yes, we can “educate” our IT departments and our business managers that NonStop should be involved in strategic discussions on any and all of these topics. The only barrier that I could see for even greater involvement of NonStop was whether we were prepared to raise our hands and say, yes, we can do that!

Something very similar to this appeared in an article by Ron Thompson of CAIL in the September / October 2012 issue of The Connection. In “NonStop in the Enterprise” Thompson observed that “… the agenda in many organizations is to reduce costs, better manage change and mitigate risk, while addressing new needs and supporting business innovation. As a result there is a need by all of us in the HP community to be proactive at ensuring decision makers appreciate the NonStop value proposition – with supporting advantages and metrics (that matter to the business). And given NonStop systems typically operate in heterogeneous environments there is a need to have an enterprise perspective that highlights NonStop supports Standards and can meaningfully contribute to achieving Corporate goals.”

There is so much more being written about NonStop these days than almost any time previously – social media channels have opened the floodgates in many respects. There’s just so much more ink on NonStop than I can recall ever seeing in the almost four decades of NonStop presence in the marketplace. There’s simply no excuse anymore for not being able to find something in writing that supports NonStop providing superior value in a given situation - and if you cannot find it, drop me an email and I will research and make sure you have something before the month passes!  Should you want to discuss something, then I have lost count of the number of forums and discussion groups focused solely on NonStop.

The message of “NonStop you”, when it comes to promoting NonStop by the NonStop community, is really all about you, me, and every stakeholder within the NonStop community. We all need to be proactive and we all need to become extremely vocal, after all, it’s becoming a lot more apparent that we are no longer alone when it comes to promoting NonStop. We just have to start thinking more strategically about expanding NonStop relevance within the companies where we work - what we now have with NonStop systems is really the type of disruptive innovation so many CIOs would welome.
It’s worth repeating (as I closed with this thought in my post of September 30, 2012 to comForte Lounge) as yes, we can “educate” our IT departments and our business managers that NonStop should be involved in strategic discussions on any or all of (the Java, Big Data and Cloud) topics. The only barrier that I could see for even greater involvement of NonStop was whether we were prepared to raise our hands and say, yes, we can do that! It really is all about “NonStop you” after all.

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