Reality check

For the avid reader in search of irony, product descriptions on 21st century websites can be an infinite source of inspiration. They are filled with pedantic superlatives, which make no sense whatsoever when taken literally.

  • “Revolutionary”. Condoned by Marx and Proudhon perhaps?
  • “Ground-breaking”. Delivered by the Hulk, for sure.
  • “Widely acclaimed’.  You know, like the Beatles or the Rolling Stones, but then, truly popular.
  • “State-of-the-art”. Compared to what? Says who?
  • “Industry standard’. You know the drill, big pond, small pond. It is just a matter of reducing the “industry” to something small enough.
  • Even “Patent pending” should be taken with a grain of salt, given how hard it is to protect IT-related IP nowadays.

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I should stop this sarcastic enumeration right here, as I know for a fact that our own website is not immune from such liberal uses of the English language.

But at least, in the business of Legacy Modernization – and definitely in the PACBASE migration market – there is one tangible thing people brag about on websites, one thing one can count on, one thing one can see, almost touch.

It is automation.

In a previous post, I stressed the importance of automation – and more specifically, in our case, the benefits of having a truly 100% automated process. Nobody questions its relevance to legacy modernization, a line of business which deals with large volumes of code and data.

All legacy modernization products and services are advertised as highly automated. But unlike the other superlatives listed above, you don’t have to take anyone’s word for it. Automation comes in different flavors as well as different degrees. And while talk is cheap, whether a solution is indeed adequately automated can be demonstrated. The same goes for its robustness when facing new inputs. Or flexibility when tweaking its output.

And you, as a concerned party, should demand such a demonstration. Any vendor with a straight face would welcome the opportunity to show how great, automated, robust and flexible their super-duper solution is.

But if one fails this very simple test, if he or she will not let you see how automated, robust and flexible the solution is – with a lame excuse of protecting their intellectual property or anything along the same lines – you can consider their claim to greatness as a joke.

A revolutionary, ground-breaking, widely acclaimed, state-of-the-art, industry standard joke.

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About Darius Blasband

Darius Blasband, 48 years old, married, 3 children. He has a Master's Degree and a PhD in Computer Science from the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Darius runs RainCode (http://www.raincode.com), which is a company specialized in compiler design and legacy modernization.
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