Article: How Economic Reality is Driving Platform Decisions


News: Article: How Economic Reality is Driving Platform Decisions

  1. ZDNet has published an article discussing how the economy is affecting enterprise platform adoptions. It delves into what is happening in both J2EE and .NET platforms, and how companies feel about training in these technologies.

    Some interesting info:

    "As companies downsize their development teams, they also begin to focus on delivering necessary services with existing infrastructure wherever possible. When the existing infrastructure can’t support their needs, they have to turn to packaged solutions because they don’t have the resources to extend the existing solution or to develop a new one internally. This is one area in which the Java community has a significant advantage over .NET. As companies look for enterprise-class solutions that can be implemented quickly, they're finding a handful of Java-based solutions and very few .NET-based solutions."

    One company needed an HR package, and found many J2EE solutions, compared to a couple of Microsoft ones. The Microsoft solutions turned out to be COM-based, not .NET.
    They were about to signup for a Microsoft solution (as they were a MS shop) but were told that this was the last version of the package that would be based on Microsoft technology--the vendor was converting it to Java!

    Their reasons?

  2. The solution would be able to run on more platforms with less work

  3. The vendor felt it could charge more money--almost two and a half times as much--for a product based on J2EE

  4. Recognized that companies would hire it to install and deploy the J2EE version of the system, unlike with their MS version

  5. Read How economic reality is driving platform decisions
  • Unbalanced Overview of Article[ Go to top ]

    I think you failed to mention another major topic in the article which goes to the point that J2EE solutions tend to be overpriced and overly complex. So overpriced that the "solution" company that offered the COM-based HR solution was going to build a J2EE solution just for WebSphere that they could charge 2.5 times more for the licenses! And so overly complex that they depend on outside vendors to deploy and support the software. I think it would have been nice for you to give a more accurate overview of the article rather than just highlight one point that fits your world viewpoint.

    I think the real major point of the article is just how bad the technology marketplace is looking. You have a lot of companies running away from investments and the effects of not investing will last far longer than any recession we may be in. What happens when we come out of recession but the investments haven't been made to move companies forward? That is the truly frightening prospect the article suggests.
  • Right on...[ Go to top ]

    From my experience in San Fransisco area, the article is right on.

  • I think the end of the article "Breaking the impasse" provided more appropriate information for the situation than this thread is based on.

    As a consultant I've often asked what the goals of projects we were doing are among the other consultants and I find they think it's to create a project in a such a way that the company it is being done for has to utilize these consultants to maintain it and update it. Consultanting companies tend to practice bait and hook. That's why so many companies who outsource their IT and development have spaghetti architecture. The consulting companies don't hire and train employees any better than they do. In fact they hire the same people and promote them to Senior Developer faster in their marketing hype. I've seen Senior Developers two years out of college on their first job at consulting companies.

    The shortsitedness companies are displaying in this area is typical and is what created their "economic reality" in the first place. They'll be complaining of the high cost of maintaining and updating their totally disparate systems and will end up spending 2x as much (or more) as they would of if they had a long term view of their systems development and noticed that there were people involved in it's design and production rather than human capital.

    I have yet to see a recruiter ad (outsourced human resources) looking for anything more than a x years experience this and that (underlying theory not being one of them). Companies have no clue how to choose people to hire and actually think recruiters provide some service other than asking a couple of questions and passing the resumes on. Very few actually do any more than that.

    Training at most consists of sending the employee to a course at another company to get a certification in four days flat if it is offered at all.

    How many CIO's have been programmers, developers, architects? I think it's more often than not a requirement that a manager not have a clue how to do the work being managed. All you need is the appropriate university degree in management. That's because companies don't promote from within. They don't train their employees either. They hope to hire the person who somehow got the exact experience and training to do the job at another company and because they can't find them they settle for the closest match. How they figured out the exact parameters of how much experience and in what that experience is based must of been a project in itself.

    All of which they must of learned at the university because it certainly isn't based on experience since they would realize that what they are doing is creating the "reality", economic or otherwise, they are perceiving (or experiencing).
  • From where I sit, you've made some very accurate observations.

    With regard to long-term outlooks, publicly traded companies are not rewarded, for the most part, in the stock market for such behavior. They may give it lip service in their public realtions, though. Long-term thinking that is real needs to come from the top down and be part of the corporate culture. With so much focus on short-term results, the chances are slim of being able to adopt a long-term outlook in public companies. BTW private companies, when managed well, don't need to fall prey to short-sighted planned. To read a top notch book in this area, see << >>.

    As far as recruiters go, man did you write a mouthful. Trained chimpanzees could do the job that 99% of these clowns do. In order to enter that profession, I believe the job requirement reads something like, "please leave any and all cognitive functions, processes and tendencies at home." There are hardly enough epithets in English that describe my opinion of "recruiters."
  • As a consultant myself, I try to avoid the situation of designing a system that will require me to be around. I'm a little different since I'm a small contractor rather than a mid- to large-sized consultancy. I just don't have the manpower or desire to maintain systems years (or even months!) after their deployment. I can understand why consultancies would do that, especially in these economic times. But personally I'd rather maintain a relationship with a client that allows me to work on new stuff; if there are old problems that need fixing, I like to set it up so that either they're easy to fix or so that the client knows enough to fix them. The problem is that often clients don't budget the effort necessary for that last leg. It takes time to set up a system for easy maintainability and to produce the docs and procedures that allow for a clean handoff. In a lot of cases, that's the first line item on an itemized estimate that a client will cross off.

    As for complexity, I think that a lot of J2EE applications are complex but don't need to be that way. I've worked in messy integration systems that span multiple platforms and applications. For something like that (a complex problem), you need something that can help develop a complex solution. J2EE fits the bill and there are a lot of existing tools to use. The problem is that either a) when fixing complex problems, developers use too much of j2ee and end up desiging even more complex (and problematic) solutions, or b) they try to use complex methods to solve simple problems. There's a book excerpt on this site by Rod Johnson in which the author deals with just this problem. J2EE has a reputation of being overly complex because it's so often used in an overly complex fashion. If a vendor came to me and told me that they'd charge 2.5 times more for a J2EE product than a COM product, I'd have to ask them exactly why that differential was necessary. Was it because of increased scalability or performance? I'd pay for that, though not that much. If I didn't get that, and I got a harder to maintain system that required vendor support to install, I'd look for another vendor. In my own experience, once you get used to J2EE it makes solving problems easier, not harder, so a vendor who relied on buzzword compliance to jack up their prices would find me a hard sell.
  • to train or not to train[ Go to top ]

    I found their training paradox pretty interesting:

    "If they paid to have them trained, the employees would leave to work for consulting firms where they made more money. If they didn’t have trained employees, they would have to pay consulting firms to install and maintain their J2EE-based systems."

    The first statement is complete nonsense. First off consulting firms generally pay pretty low (my experience). Second, a company that invests in its employees with training is rare and when it happens people sure aren't going to leave right away.

    Overall the article seemed too .NET focused, but I guess that's what should be expected from ZD.

  • Small ,Short term vendors[ Go to top ]

    <snip>With regard to long-term outlooks, publicly traded companies are not rewarded,for the most part, in the stock market for such behavior. Long-term thinking that is real needs to come from the top down and be part of the corporate culture. With so much focus on short-term results, the chances are slim of being able to adopt a long-term outlook in public companies. BTW private companies, when managed well, don't need to fall prey to short-sighted planned.</snip>

    I came across a small,esoteric vendor here whose prices were very high for what they have to offer.Later, I was given to understand that,its all got to do with the way that company is being managed.It is dangerous to go with such companies who donot have well planned,long term outlooks.The product may be good.But if you choose to work with such companies, In future you may end up running them as a legacy systems without anyone to support!

    Manoj Shirke
  • According to this article, no one is using .NET because 1) shops don't have much business because of the downturn, and therefore 2) are afraid to train their staff in .NET because with their 'hot new' .NET expertise, the staff will jump ship. Therefore 3) shops will put off .NET training & adoption until 2004. So 4) this explains the fact that no one will use .NET until 2004. It has nothing to do with .NET being joke of a tool.
  • "huge gains in productivity for developing both Windows and Web applications, that person won’t want to go back to using the old tools. But since managements have cut off funding for all new projects, they are forcing their development teams to use older, less-productive tools to maintain the systems they already have in place. "

    As expected, this is an AD for .net. You see java is over priced. But with .net you will have "huge gains..."

    Before reading the article, I knew an article for ZD would be an advertisement for .net, but I wasted my time and read the article anyway ....
  • No. Really. Tim Landgrave works for Microsoft. The posting before mine demonstrated the cloying sophistry of the article.

    I happened to know the conclusion of the article from the moment I read the name of its author.

    Tim Landgrave is a very bad person.
  • .Net centric point of view[ Go to top ]

    The following is an introduction to Tim Landgrave that I found on a site calling itself a "Microsoft ASP.NET Connections" site.

    "Tim Landgrave is President of eAdvantage, Inc., a Microsoft .NET architecture, design, development, and training company. Tim was the founder, President and technical visionary of two prior Microsoft-centric consulting companiesÑKiZAN Technologies and Vobix Corporation. In 1995, KiZAN was named Microsoft's first ever Solution Provider Partner of the Year. Under Tim's guidance, KiZAN was known nationally for their engineering and development solutions. Vobix Corporation was one of the first Microsoft-based Application Services Providers and while there Tim architected and Vobix developed a comprehensive provisioning platform for Microsoft Enterprise products capable of supporting hundreds of companies and thousands of users on a small number of networked servers. Tim has been the MSDN Regional Director for KY and Southern OH since 1996. In this capacity, he works with regional companies on training and architecture engagements that help them to adopt new Microsoft technologies. Tim's also a highly read CNET/TechRepublic contributor where he's been writing regular columns for CIOs, ASPs and .NET architects for almost three years. His columns are read by over 20,000 people each week."

    I don't know about being a "very bad person" because I don't think that someones technical biases automatically brand them as evil but it certainly does show his background to be very Microsoft based.

    The most worrying part I thought was that the article was bemoaning a lack of .Net training and I note that eAdvantage is a "Microsoft .NET architecture, design, development, and training company" which I think really colors his opinions a lot to say the least.

    It depends a lot on how the original article was presented, but if it was supposed to represent a balanced view then this is certainly a problem.
  • It is worse than I thought[ Go to top ]

    Actually the title of this article


    pretty much gives the game away though doesn't it.

    I found this reference in a "Microsoft Certified Partner Newsletter for Jan 6th, 2003 at

    Despite all of this .Net stuff I still do agree with some of his statements on training in general though.