Faddists beware, Sam is here

When it comes to IT fads, network computing and the current obsession with cutting cost of ownership, are high on the list for Sam Greenblatt, vice-president of technology at Computer Associates. The aim of IT is to provide business benefit - cost of ownership should not be a driver."

When it comes to IT fads, network computing and the current obsession with cutting cost of ownership, are high on the list for Sam Greenblatt, vice-president of technology at Computer Associates.

“In fact, the number one fad today is lower cost of ownership on PCs,” says Greenblatt , who was in New Zealand visiting customers. Echoing the sentiments of Computer Associates CEO Charles Wang, Greenblatt says, “If you focus on cost only and not on your ability to compete, you’re going to put yourself out of business. The attitude should be ‘If I have to increase the cost of ownership in order to compete I will’. The aim of IT is to provide business benefit — cost of ownership should not be a driver.”

As for the NC, “I call the Network Computer the 3270 [terminal] of the 90s,” he says. “But every second customer I talk to wants to know our strategy for the NC. The fact of the matter is, we have been dealing with these devices for 25 years.”

But New Zealanders can take heart that they’re not as fad crazy as their US counterparts. Take client-server, for example. According to Greenblatt, while the world was going through the client-server revolution, Australia and New Zealand were sleeping.

“This was good, however, because 80% of projects failed in the US. Australia and New Zealand are still mainframe-centric compared to the US. Here people ask — do I really need to move to client-server? What’s the business benefit of doing that? The markets tend to be slightly conservative. “I have made calls to 50 customers in both countries and overall they’re very pragmatic, whereas Americans are into fads.”

“A significant exception is New Zealand’s adoption of Unix. In one respect, New Zealand led the world regarding moving mission-critical applications to Unix.”

Computer Associates, the second biggest software company in the world, has just released a major haul of its CA-Unicenter enterprise management product and is due to release its object-oriented database Jasmine by the middle of the year.

Greenblatt says that during his travels, customers have been interested in the following technology trends:

q Object-oriented ways of dealing with legacy systems. “We’re coming out with our object-oriented database, Jasmine.”

q Systems management. “Now that companies here are moving to client-server they realise they have a problem with managing it all.”

q The year 2000 issue. “Australians and New Zealanders are just starting to take this seriously. The US press has been sensationalising the year 2000 for a long time but here people have taken a very soft approach. Now they are realising that they’ve got to take it seriously.”

q Application deployment and management. Enhancements in the newly-released CA Unicenter TNG (The Next Generation) include network and applications management features. Previous versions focused on database management.

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