Predictions are great. No one's predictions are ever going to be 100 per cent right, but it's important to make (thoughtful) ones. It's one way we can get ourselves in the right frame of mind to shape the future, and not just experience it.
Robert Regis Hyle made three bold predictions for 2013 (See Link), on systems security, telematics growth and IT staff. I'm nodding at his first two predictions, he's spot on, but I'm not so sure about the third. Hyle's point is that as Baby Boomer COBOL programmers continue to retire, carriers will be forced to replace old core systems. He even sees some pushback against outsourcing as companies strive to own the design and build of these new core systems.
I can't argue against the demographic. But I'll offer this: COBOL still has a lot of things going for it. First, it works. Second, it's teachable. Third, the legacy code in existence has been tested in the toughest environment known to mankind – actual business life.
But even if such legacy systems do have to
be retired for lack of skilled personnel, does this really dictate inhouse
redevelopment? Retirement of core systems is a key opportunity to consider the
as-a-service model. This is where the outsourcing companies will bite back.
They'll be asking customers: Do you really want to invest in a bunch of new
core systems – and the staff that go with them? Or would you rather pay as you
go, with unlimited backup etc etc etc? If your crystal ball is showing a bunch of
graying Javanauts and Hadoopites facing deja vu all over again, maybe it's
tuned to the wrong future. Thanks RRH for getting us to think about these important topics.