Monday, 14 April 2008

IMS is dead!?!?

I took part in an enterprise survey last week. The first question was to name companies that I thought were in the enterprise IT space. Of course, I trotted out names like IBM, CA, and BMC. When prompted for more I said DataDirect, NEON, Mackinney, William Data Systems, SDS, and Oracle. I would have moved on to high-end hardware suppliers, but I stopped – to see whether I had said enough. The second part of the survey was about Hewlett-Packard. Now if HP thinks it’s in the enterprise space, where does that put IBM and the other mainframe suppliers. Where does that put things like IMS?

Hewlett-Packard has been around for a long time, but I always think of them as the company that sells cheap printers and expensive ink cartridges. In truth, I’m actually writing this blog on an HP Pavilion laptop. In terms of positioning in the market place, I tend to put HP and Sun as mid-range players. I can remember when HP took over DEC, who at one time had been king of the mid-range. In fact, PDP11s were like the Volkswagon Beetle or Morris Minor of their day – they were still in use at many companies long after you would have expected them to have been replaced. I even worked on a DEC VAX machine (in the days when VAX was nothing to do with vacuuming the carpet!). I still remember the excitement in the press when Carly Fiorina became CEO – and when she left. Although I knew about their workstations and their OpenView software, I still thought of them as mid-range.

So if everyone else in the world sees HP as an enterprise player, where does that put IBM? Does this mean that IBM is now really little more than a niche player in the enterprise space? And if that is the case, where does it put specialized packages like IMS? Here’s the logic: only a part of the enterprise space is IBM’s, and only some of those IBM sites use IMS. Therefore the IMS part must be very small and probably shrinking to nothing over the next few years.

If you’re an IMS user, how does that make you feel? Well, I’m hoping that I’m completely wrong with everything I’ve just said about IMS. But I think it’s important that IMS users have a chance to have their say. I think it would be very useful to know what real IMS users are doing with their IMS. So, if you are an IMS users, why don’t you fill in the IMS survey at When the results are in, I’ll let you know whether IMS users think IMS is dead or not.

IMS users who haven’t already signed up may be interested in the Virtual IMS Connection user group at

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