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Modernization - what does it mean to you?

  • 1.  Modernization - what does it mean to you?

    Posted 09-10-2021 17:11

    Modernization.

    You probably see this word all the time. I'm curious, what does it mean to you? Specifically, what does modernization mean for your business-critical application that is built on a MultiValue platform.

    Your organization has invested in your business-critical MultiValue-based applications over the course of years and maybe decades.

    How do you ensure those applications can adapt and grow alongside your organization for continued return on investment for years to come?

    If you're focused on increasing productivity, are you looking at development tools and modern programming languages that are easy to use, efficient, and address the skills gap?

    If you're focused on simplifying integration, are you interested in lightweight, zero-install client applications with Open APIs?

    Is speed to market at the top of your list, including implementing continuous integration, continuous delivery (CI/CD), cloud (on-premises or hybrid cloud deployment and containerization)?

    If you're not focused on any of the above, I'd love to hear what you're working on. Looking forward to hearing your ideas, hesitations, and successes.

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    Julianna Cammarano
    Director of Product Marketing
    Rocket Software Inc
    Waltham MA United States
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  • 2.  RE: Modernization - what does it mean to you?

    PARTNER
    Posted 09-13-2021 16:21
    I am saddened when I see so many businesses spending precious resources on decommissioning their perfectly good server hardware and moving all their operations to the public cloud. I believe that most have done so without a genuine understanding that this is NOT true "digital transformation".

    Yes, hosted desktop in the cloud can revolutionise some businesses and having servers hosted in a public cloud may have some benefits, but the feedback I have received from some early adopters is now as I suspected, that they are disappointed with the outcome, as they now pay for someone else's servers, and although there are some pretty smart tools available to administer cloud hosted server farms, the usual support issues have not gone away, rather they are now compounded by being part of a very large and tempting target for malicious actors.

    I believe that hybrid cloud will suit most, if there is a genuine need for a public cloud solution in the first case.

    "Modernization" - Of course that means different things to different people. I believe that AI (Artificial Intelligence) applied in various ways can be a game-changer, and there are now some pretty good offerings available. BPM (Business Process Management) (my speciality) comprising modelling and automation is another significant means to "Modernization". This is not intended to be a "promo", but I have committed myself wholly to this field and have developed a "zero code" business process automation product. It is both database and operating system agnostic and can be used on-prem or cloud-based.

    OK - that is not meant to be a "promo". I will readily provide a list of recognised international leaders in this field if asked.

    Business automation enables a business to be much more agile, especially if implemented using a "low-code" or "zero-code" system, as when the need arises to meet an unexpected challenge, the process can be very quickly changed to meet the new criteria. Then if the conditions return to what they used to be like (maybe with less dramatic changes) the previous model can be reinstated with maybe a few minor changes to match a new understanding of what is needed.

    BPM is my passion! I have lived and breathed it for 25 years, initially within my D3-hosted FMIS / ERP product that some clients have used for 25 to 30 years. Please feel free to ask questions about this specific area of "Modernization".

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    Alan Miles
    Business and IT Consultant
    Amba Ltd
    Whanganui, New Zealand
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  • 3.  RE: Modernization - what does it mean to you?

    PARTNER
    Posted 3 days ago
    I agree with the need to modernise by making the data more readily available via a web interface, however the cost is enormous. I am now starting to think it would be better to drop D3 and start again on a completely different system. It appears that that will be the cheapest option in the long run.

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    Alex Polglaze

    The Book-Keeping Network
    Perth Western Australia
    +61419 776 348
    apolglaze@book-keepingnetwork.com.au
    https://www.book-keepingnetwork.com.au/
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  • 4.  RE: Modernization - what does it mean to you?

    PARTNER
    Posted 3 days ago
    Hi

    I'm not sure that I understand why you think the cost would be enormous? Maybe I have missed the point? Maybe the term "enormous" is relative, but I am used to working with a shoe-string budget for NZ SMBs.

    There are a couple of workable (and economic) approaches that come to mind immediately. One is to mirror selected portions of the D3 database to SQL Server tables, then use one of the powerful tools available in Visual Studio (ASP.Net MVC?) to do what you require. Or just reference D3 direct.

    I have experience with bi-directional real-time mirroring of MV D3 to SQL Server flat tables, if you're interested?

    Regards,

    Alan.

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    Alan Miles
    Business and IT Consultant
    Amba Ltd
    Whanganui, New Zealand
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  • 5.  RE: Modernization - what does it mean to you?

    Posted 2 days ago
    I am on the same thinking as Alan.  Not sure what the enormous cost is?  I am moving application from the terminal to the web without that much effort.  The ability to keep the underlying data structure in place and migrate the business process to the web is great.  We stay compatible with the terminal screens for those process that make since and move others to the web using the same business logic.

    To drop all the database structure, business logic and procedures that are currently in place to me would be enormous both in time and money.

    Craig

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    Craig Curtis
    System Programmer
    Sevier Valley School District
    Richfield UT United States
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  • 6.  RE: Modernization - what does it mean to you?

    Posted 2 days ago
    To me _ multiValue is more modern than SQL or NoSQL _ by about 1000 years.

    I find it amazing that _ people are unable to grasp it.

    Speed _ is an obvious key factor in a database.

    An actual schema is also key.

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    Bill Brutzman
    IT Manager
    Hk Metalcraft Manufacturing Corporation
    Lodi NJ United States
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  • 7.  RE: Modernization - what does it mean to you?

    PARTNER
    Posted 2 days ago
    Hi Alex,
    I 100% disagree with you. Do not do it.
    There is already so much tied up in the logic of your system that to start over will be horrendous and costly.
    Perhaps look at a staged approach?
    For example, leverage excellent tools such as designbais to get you 'into' graphical and potentially web-service architecture quickly. That keeps you 'in the game'. Most likely as a developer, it will not take you too long to reengineer your front end 'into' db.
    Then, more slowly use tools like MVSToolkit to build web-service architecture and 'publish' that for others to create their own front end. Of course, you could do that, too.


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    David Knight
    Managing Director
    Matash Australia Pty Ltd
    Castle Hill NSW Australia
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  • 8.  RE: Modernization - what does it mean to you?

    PARTNER
    Posted 2 days ago
    Edited by Alan Miles 2 days ago
    I agree completely! Pick / D3 / UniVerse / UniData / etc are far superior to any version of SQL!

    I have had to work with SQL for various reasons. So what did I do? I added a "dictionary" to each table, outlawed data typing (everything is text), outlawed stored procedures, and created a multi-value environment by using character 254 as a primary data separator. I then developed C# functions that worked with this environment to provide what the application(s) needed. Somewhat to my surprise, C# working with a minimal-function SQL was actually more efficient than using SQL conventionally - probably because the code only did what was actually required by the application.

    By doing this, my applications are now "database agnostic". They can easily be switched between various versions of SQL and various versions of Rocket MV without needing any more than a relatively few simple functions replaced according to which database is being used.

    It's not that hard!

    So, getting back to the original topic ... working with Rocket MV from C# can be not just easy, but powerful, as the Rocket products have intuitive capabilities to work with MV data and provide time-saving built-in capabilities. (Of course that all depends on what the applications are! Mine is a very complex system, but not in terms of data relationships or types, so a true MV database and its built-in intelligence is less of an advantage.)

    Try it - give it a good try - You'll find it faster and faster to develop stuff once you get the foundational stuff out of the way.

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    Alan Miles
    Business and IT Consultant
    Amba Ltd
    Whanganui, New Zealand
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  • 9.  RE: Modernization - what does it mean to you?

    ROCKETEER
    Posted 2 days ago

    Great to see the discussion.

    No surprise I'm going to agree with the sentiment of "Don't Do IT".

    I'd say the enormous cost is experienced when customers attempt to migrate off the platform, not in modernizing an existing application.  We've had several customers attempt a migration only to abort the project after months/years, costing the organization millions of dollars.

    Many organizations state they're interested in modernizing their applications, but they don't know where to begin; unsure of best practices, do I start with building a front-end web interface with tools like Angular or should my first consideration be exposing MV data and business logic through RESTful APIs so systems can communicate with one another. What are the right tools to use? How do I strategically think about modernization?

    David brings up a great point of a staged approach; where you start out small and gradually move to more complex initiatives; with each phase you gain more knowledge and success along the way. Most important is understanding the strategic imperatives of your organization so you can align the project with those imperatives, showing results and success to your executive team. With executive buy in, a green light for the next stage can begin.

    One of my favorite modernization stories is Eurotunnel Le Shuttle where they were faced with a difficult decision; replace their proven, business-critical system– which would cost several million euros and take years to complete or prove to their executive team they could modernize their MV based reservation system.



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    Julianna Cammarano
    Director of Product Marketing
    Rocket Internal - All Brands
    Waltham MA United States
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  • 10.  RE: Modernization - what does it mean to you?

    PARTNER
    Posted 8 hours ago
    I agree with "don't do it"! My most important client took a "big bang" approach and replaced the D3 hosted FMIS / ERP system I had built for them with Microsoft NAV. I contracted an NAV developer to modify NAV to be more like the client's culture. NAV was a good fit, but I was aware that the warehouse manager didn't have tight enough control over their inventory.

    When I was dismissed (with thanks) a few weeks before "go-live", the mods I had arranged were removed because the warehouse manager didn't understand that NAV required tighter control than they were capable of, and the suppliers of the NAV system were not aware of the situation at the client, because the warehouse manager maintained he had everything sorted.

    When I subsequently learned of what had happened, I was told that some millions of dollars were spent to get the system working as it needed to. My inexpensive fixes to NAV would have provided a way of easing into the disciplines required, and would have highlighted the procedural problems I was aware of. I felt badly let down by the client for not trusting my actions on their behalf, and felt particularly sad that they had committed so much money to the project when a fraction of that budget spent on "modernising" my solution would have incrementally improved what they had already, and was already capable of doing what they required day to day.

    A little lesson from history!

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    Alan Miles
    Business and IT Consultant
    Amba Ltd
    Whanganui, New Zealand
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