Sunday, March 10, 2013

Looking further down the line …

Catching up with comForte CTO Burg as he travelled through the US was opportunistic but as we discussed comForte’s products discussions turned to journeys of another type and yet every bit as important …

A short time ago Margo and I had the good fortune to have comForte CTO, Thomas Burg as our houseguest and, over dinners with the occasional drink, we found time to talk about many topics. Burg was in the United States visiting vendors, customers, partners, as well as to attend the first workgroup meeting of the Accredited Standards Committee X9.

comForte had only just recently been accepted into this industry association and high on Burg’s list of priorities was getting involved in the meetings associated with
“X9.119 – Retail Financial Services – Requirements for Protection of Sensitive Payment Data – Part 1:  Using Encryption / Tokenization Methods”.

Readers of my posts to this blog will recall how it was only a few posts back where I discussed comForte’s Security offerings in the introductory post
Shutting the Gate; closing the Windows; Securing the Data! ,and as a provider of security features to the HP NonStop Enterprise Division (NED), almost everyone in the NonStop community is fully aware of their commitment and knowledge when it comes to security.

However, security hasn’t been the only story line covered by posts to this blog. From the earliest post almost two years ago, the arrival of the communications product uLinga – a SNAX an ICE alternative developed by Infrasoft – has been well covered. For almost as long, the topic of SOA and Web services has been actively supported and in the most recent post,
The path forward – checking out your plans for SOA adoption! I observed that even as NonStop systems continue to play a pivotal role when it comes to mission-critical transaction processing … it’s important that NonStop users pursue strategies for better integration as part of their modernization programs.

In choosing the phrase “the path forward” to introduce my most recent post on SOA, it was an acknowledgment that the adoption of SOA would be a journey. Externalizing mission-critical business functionality as services to be consumed, and perhaps even combined, with other services by clients whether desktops, laptops, tablets or smartphones was an important step to take for all within the NonStop community who were keen to see the NonStop promoted as every bit as modern as any other server within an enterprises’ data center.

The value of adopting SOA had already proved beneficial to many financial services providers who were able to then leverage functionality developed for one channel (e.g. ATMs or the branch office) and redeploy in support of another (e.g. online banking and / or telephone banking).

Knowing it’s a journey, and aware of the path forward, the NonStop community must also be looking much further down the line. Disruptive innovation is happening all around us and with the advent of Cloud Computing and with it, a real threat on the longer-term viability of centralized data center deployments, being able to relocate these mission-critical business functionalities inside the Cloud may become a must-do even when the functionality involved is in support of very low value transactions.

Moreover, this brings me back to one of the key take-away messages I derived following my conversations with Burg. “When the discussion turns to NonStop and at issue is something new required of the NonStop”, said Burg “then turn to comForte; we may not have the product on offer today but we have the knowledge and experience!”

Not to be confused with messages coming from services and consulting companies but rather, a recognition that within the comForte team is the expertise that, says Burg, “given well documented user requirements then with the products and features already in place there’s a very good chance that the required functionality can be delivered in a very short period of time. Without compromising capabilities or lessening the inherent properties and attributes of the NonStop system.”

It’s often easy to say that our company is focused on this product or on delivering that feature just as it’s all too easy for users to overlook potential vendor partnerships when assumptions have been made. Sometimes the full story just doesn’t quite gets through the way it ought to as vital points are missed. Perhaps the simple messages from comForte in support of Protect, Connect, Modernize have been stated too often for their meaning to be fully comprehended.

Make no mistake; having access to a vendor prepared to be a partner and with the skillset and experience to work quickly to meet much sought after deliverables (not the forte of every vendor in the NonStop community) may indeed be all that separates successful companies from the less fortunate competitors. The closing words from Burg, every bit as important as anything else proposed this past week “Yes, if it involves NonStop, talk to comForte!”    


  1. What did you and Thomas eat?

  2. Cant recall all the details but the main meal featured a breat lamb dish ... and we had some additional comForte folks stop by as well so the conversations that arose covered a lot of ground with Security, Connectivity and Modernization heavily debated!