Progress Revolution 2011: IT must focus on adaptability

By Derek du Preez
22 Sep 2011 View Comments
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BOSTON: Businesses need to focus less on ensuring high availability of their IT systems, and more on making them adaptable, by avoiding hard coding at the back end, according to Forrester principal analyst Mike Gualtieri.

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Gualtieri was speaking as part of a panel discussion at Progress Software's Progress Revolution conference in Boston this week.

"For 20 or 30 years the focus has been on high availability. A lot of businesses expect no more than 5.62 minutes of downtime per year, which is not a lot, and there are a lot of organisations that have been very good at achieving this for their existing systems," said Gualtieri.

"But that is the wrong focus now: what we need now is high adaptability. The adaptability to react to changes in the market and look at what customers want."

Gualtieri argued that businesses need to take on additional tool sets to achieve this adaptability, and that just using Java, for example, is no longer enough.

"The idea of cracking open Java code, going deep into that code for a programmer to make a change, is daft. I have written many thousands of lines of Java code and it is not the fastest way to make a change," he explained.

"There is definitely a need for Java at a certain level, but you have to look at your toolbox, and if the only thing in your toolbox is Java, it's not good enough. You have to fill your toolbox with things that allow you to achieve high adaptability."

Gualtieri said that fourth-generation programming languages, offered by the likes of Progress and Sybase's PowerBuilder, provide developers with a much faster and more flexible set of tools than Cobol, Pascal, C or C++.

Steve Sturr, director of global services for Dell, said that the company's growing portfolio of services required it to move to a more flexible delivery system.


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