Thursday, February 24, 2011

PoC? Positive outcomes, Coming!

When it comes to introducing new products and features, or even a new vendor, the need to jointly undertake a Proof of Concept (PoC) represents value to all involved and through the years, the NonStop community has proved to be more than willing to pursue!

Shortly I will be heading down to Johannesburg, South Africa, for the South African Tandem User Group (SATUG) annual event where I will be giving presentations. Flipping through the pages of my passport reminds me that I have only missed attending a couple of these events and of how, even after one of the longest journeys I am ever called upon to make, upon arrival the reception I am always receiving is unlike any other at other event!

It was many years ago, when I was working for a start-up, Systems Technology (later renamed Netlink), that a group of South African banks migrated from Burroughs to IBM and where the implementation of their SNA network was hampered by the presence of many Burroughs BiSync (BSC) branch office devices. Systems Technology provided a range of SNA protocol convertors including a model that supported the mapping of Burroughs particular implementation of BSC to SNA / SDLC.

In order to assure that these protocol convertors actually met the banks’ requirements, an extended Proof of Concept (PoC) was undertaken and this required Systems Technology posting a technical resource in South Africa for a year. Terry Bishop, who made the “sacrifice”, enjoyed the experience so much, that it eventually proved to be a difficult getting him to return to Australia.
Terry, along with Mark Hutchens, who too was involved with Systems Technology at the time, went on to form Insession and, after adding Neil Coleman to the team, came up with the ICE product line. Many years later, this heritage of tackling difficult connectivity problems, remains intact with the creation of Infrasoft.

comForte, who is distributing the Infrasoft products, arranged to have a couple of webinars dedicated to uLinga and comForte marketing head, Thomas Gloerfeld, made sure that presenters were lined up for the different time zones! Last week, in the post “Learning something new!” I wrote of the value that comes from these webinars and of how one outcome from a successful webinar is moving on to a PoC.

As of now, uLinga, the offering from comForte, is in PoC testing with users and the outcome is looking positive! It a reminder of the level of understanding that is present across the NonStop community of just how important it is to let vendor’s bring new product to market in this manner.

Likewise, it is evidence of the overall dynamics in effect across the NonStop installed base where new ways to deploy the platform are constantly being evaluated – how could you imagine the platform is irrelevant or a remnant of earlier approaches to computing when investments of this magnitude continue to be made in the NonStop platform?

PoC’s are an expensive undertaking for both sides. Users commit resources and time while vendors are often required to go on-site. Like many vendors who pursue PoCs, comForte recognizes the commitments being made by the user and yet, equally recognizes the potential these users have for ensuring the products and features being evaluated truly meets the requirements identified. Successful outcomes often generate considerable savings for the user, and makes the process well worth pursuing.
In the coming weeks I am hopeful that I will be able to write about the first production roll-out of uLinga, the goal behind all the work that goes into event participation, webinars, and PoC’s. I am hopeful that I will be given the opportunity to get into the specifics about the value proposition and what fueled the desire to commit the resources.

As for SATUG I am sure there will be new topics that come from the event that will give me cause to return to the subject of PoC’s! After all, I have so much history with the place I cannot imagine not finding something that engages the user community once again.

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