February 9, 2017 Batch Automation, Data 0 Comments

Step into the 21st Century of IT

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From my 21st century vantage point, I find it fascinating to read about the early days of IT—they called it DP (data processing). Many of us began our careers in those days. Back then, you recognized the systems programmers by their tool belts. They often had to fix computers with basic tools like screw drivers. Vendors at trade shows often handed out small tool kits just for this reason.

Among other physical tasks, tapes had to be found and manually mounted on tape drives. Remember punching cards with assembler code and trying to transport production decks to operations to run? Later, we had enormous sheets of paper to code on, because you only a narrow window to enter your data into a dumb terminal. Most likely, you signed up for your “window” on a sheet of paper next to the terminal.

Developing a system took months, if not years; supporting it took time and many more people than you’ll see in a data center today.

Turning Our Backs on Automation

Each year (and sometimes it feels like each month), new tools and capabilities appear to make life easier and make us more productive at work. Some of these, like smart phones and tablets, make us so productive that we forget to take time off. But what’s interesting is that some of these amazing, time-saving offerings are adopted with joy, while others languish.

Why are some solutions shelved? If you are a systems programmer now, you are probably coming up with all the good reasons why you rejected solutions in the past. “Too expensive,” you might have said. “Doesn’t have all the features we really need.” Or, “How much can we rely on this vendor?”

While these may sometimes be true, in some cases, we know the real reason. The product would take work away from us—work for which we have been rewarded and recognized.

The white knight who comes in at 2 a.m. and fixes a serious problem is a hero. Bonuses, promotions and other accolades wash over these IT heroes and seriously, who wants to give that up? We know we can do great things, but these are the low-hanging fruit that still deliver a ripe reward.

The 21st-century Answer

But now, in the 21st century, we’ve given up our tool belts, relinquished the tape robots that replaced running around hanging tapes, and enjoyed the ease of keying in parameters, code fixes, and more on a PC dedicated to our needs. So, perhaps, it’s time to give up things like hand-managing batch performance.

Sometimes, we stick with things because they’ve become habit. We know there is probably a better way to do them, but we don’t want to fight the battle to get new software and face a learning curve.

But here’s the thing. If you’ve been doing this a long time, you’re probably beginning to see the new generation of mainframers showing up. They certainly aren’t going to spend the next 10 years learning all you’ve learned about how to expertly hand-manage your batch workloads.

Get the credit for bringing in a better way to manage batch with ThruPut Manager. If you haven’t already checked it out, find out what you’ve been missing.

ThruPut Manager is the Roomba to your vacuum, the drill and its attachments to your hand tools. It’s the perfect automated solution you direct to do the work you shouldn’t be doing anymore anyway. Put down your plow and let’s go figure out how much more fun and challenging work we can take on when we don’t have to deal with batch anymore.

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Chief Innovator, Denise P. Kalm began her career in biochemical genetics (M.S. University of Michigan). She went on to have a career in IT, beginning with programming, moving to performance and capacity planning and then to work for vendors. Her experience as a performance analyst/capacity planner, software consultant, and then marketing maven at various software companies grounds her work providing contract writing, editing, marketing and speaking services. She is a frequently published author in both the IT world and outside. Kalm is a requested speaker at such venues as SHARE, CMG and ITFMA and has enhanced her skills through Toastmasters where she has earned her ACG/ALB. She is also a personal coach at DPK Coaching.