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 Post subject: Re: What's with the tech sector?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:03 am 
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Dave Cutler turned 75 this week. He's a kind of Benjamin Button of the tech sector. He started off writing operating systems for mainframes and super-minis at DEC, including RSX-11, VAX/VMS and Alpha/VMS. Then in mid life he got all trendy and wrote NT for Microsoft. At retirement age he started writing the Azure platform. And at 70 he moved on to X-Box development. What's he gonna do at 80? Maybe port Super Tetris to some new 64-bit Gameboy?

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 Post subject: Re: What's with the tech sector?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 9:54 am 
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The new dotcom crash?

Silicon V based mainly....any signs here of a slowdown?


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 Post subject: Re: What's with the tech sector?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 4:20 pm 
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beattie wrote:
The new dotcom crash?

Silicon V based mainly....any signs here of a slowdown?


I don't know about the trendy startup scene, but consulting seems as boomy as ever. I'm recently departed from that scene, but looking from the outside there's certainly no signs of slowdown. If anything wages seem like they might finally be creeping upwards, after seeming to hold strangely stagnant in the face of huge demand and little supply for a long time.

My feeling is that we have far fewer of the dot com style, revenue-less and business model-less companies in Ireland than they do in Silicon Valley, so we're far less exposed.


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 Post subject: Re: What's with the tech sector?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:15 pm 
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Just looking around at the moment it's a mixed bag in Dublin. Before Xmas most of the companies I dealt with were talking about expansion, and I was only aware of one company that was in trouble - they had said that if they didn't get another round of funding they'd be gone in January - they didn't get the funding but they still seem to be hanging on. The others are mainly stalled - they're interviewing people but not taking very many on - they seem to be trying to create full teams before they move and the real crisis is in senior people - people with 15 plus years experience who can bind teams together and understand the delivery process - I think this is a result of the hole that was created in the early 2000's when the tech industry was flat and nobody was interested in working in it. It's also hard to get senior people with recent development experience because the career progression in the tech industry is so skewed to managerial positions - i.e. you won't get a pay increase until you are a manager so you have to give up development. Getting a six figure salary as a developer is virtually impossible so many good developers move into management very early and development skills get lost. The contract market had dried up but seems to be flowing again - not sure why - it's possible that more mature companies were looking for permanent staff - so this might be an indicator that the startup scene was struggling - maybe it still is or the more mature companies have found they can't get permanent people and are now willing to consider contractors.

I'm not sure if all the above indicates a turning of the tide or if it's just a slow start to the year. I don't think things are slowing down but they're not galloping forward.


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 Post subject: Re: What's with the tech sector?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:41 pm 
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muirgheasa wrote:
beattie wrote:
The new dotcom crash?

Silicon V based mainly....any signs here of a slowdown?


I don't know about the trendy startup scene, but consulting seems as boomy as ever.


The Trendy Startup scene seems to be a complete mess. We've gone from no support for tiny startup 10 years ago to absolutely throwing incubator space and 0-stage funds at anyone with phrases like "We're the Uber for ---" in their business plan, then they spend all their time going to hipster events with other startups and writing reports on how well they're doing, rather than actually doing much. It's a total circle-jerk.

A lot of the shit that comes out of the incubators is shocking. The companies that are doing well are either much bigger, not Irish but have opened development houses here for tax purposes; or Irish companies that have ignored the "trendy startup" circuit completely and actually spend their time executing.

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 Post subject: Re: What's with the tech sector?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:40 pm 
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Insourcing does seem to be in vogue, I'm working for over a year now with a US conglomerate in the top 50 of the Fortune 500 who outsourced 100% of dev work since the dotcom era, the rationale was they lost nearly all internal knowledge of how their own systems worked and the contract houses knew it and were taking advantage. Headcount is nearly 100 now, and they are opening similar centres in APAC and the Americas. Approx 50% are from outside Ireland, hailing from Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, India, China and Brazil. We still haven't taken 35% of the work off of the contract houses.


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 Post subject: Re: What's with the tech sector?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 12:55 am 
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I've heard that BOI have a big lead on the other banks in terms of joining up their IT systems to get 'a single view of the customer' and that the other banks are wetting their pants somewhat. I wouldn't be surprised to see them spool up their IT hiring if they have not done so already.


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 Post subject: Re: What's with the tech sector?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:49 am 
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Barney Gumble wrote:
I've heard that BOI have a big lead on the other banks in terms of joining up their IT systems to get 'a single view of the customer' and that the other banks are wetting their pants somewhat. I wouldn't be surprised to see them spool up their IT hiring if they have not done so already.

My impression was that it was one very talented, dedicated, disciplined, bright, high-level individual in BOI largely responsible for this. Since moved on to new pastures. Anyway, my understanding of the nature of EAI system development before reading your comment was that you must have someone like that at the top. It is not something that you are likely to achieve by throwing new hires at it. Btw, I suspect the BOI individual, who developed his whole career within BOI, would be under some contractual constraint not to go on to other banks and do the exact same for them. (Borne out by his new position).

I would be interested to hear your opinion on this, because as someone relatively new to software development, I really struggle to conceive of how development like this would be achieved once you go beyond a very small close-knit team. - Would the broad knowledge required of business issues and technical aspects be available at all? (For example I would suspect you would need a fairly deep knowledge of each data model of each individual system, probably proprietary to each individual bank, also real insight into how users of those systems actually use them, and that's well before you even get onto the technicalities (and art) of something like Sun Java Caps or whatever the equivalent is in banking.)

Or how would you actually do a project like this? Excuse my ignorance. I really know little of the world of banking, or even of software development in a large corporate environment. I'm only extrapolating from how I would personally work for smaller organisations.


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 Post subject: Re: What's with the tech sector?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:06 am 
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To be honest, what I know about that sort of transformation is all theoretical, but you are certainly right in that it has to come from the top. The idea is to figure out what your corporate strategy is and then ensure that your projects, infrastructure and IT Governance align with the strategy. You need major buy-in from the top execs and ideally a seat on the board for the IT function to get it to work well. I did a masters thesis on IT Governance and I found these guys offered a good theoretical framework to work from, and it's pretty accessible for an academic paper with case studies used to make their points. The gist of it is in the picture below. You know if you can diagram it, it must be correct. :wink:

Image


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 Post subject: Re: What's with the tech sector?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:48 am 
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Barney Gumble wrote:
To be honest, what I know about that sort of transformation is all theoretical, but you are certainly right in that it has to come from the top. The idea is to figure out what your corporate strategy is and then ensure that your projects, infrastructure and IT Governance align with the strategy. You need major buy-in from the top execs and ideally a seat on the board for the IT function to get it to work well. I did a masters thesis on IT Governance and I found these guys offered a good theoretical framework to work from, and it's pretty accessible for an academic paper with case studies used to make their points. The gist of it is in the picture below. You know if you can diagram it, it must be correct. :wink:

Image

The BOI individual was firstly a fantastic engineer, particularly in having a broad knowledge (within his sector), secondly a manager/director, although he must have excelled at that too. I know the 'buy-in' from the top stuff is non-trivial. But I have done some small scale integration (using Camel) myself and the most exigent issues I came across were mostly oriented around middle manager and user issues (the board level need/commitment is either there or it is not. - Typically any board director even without any technical knowledge easily conceives of the holy grail of having all their information "integrated" and will do anything asked of them to further it.). I may be wrong, but I have an intuition that such frameworks as you point to mostly go out the window, only remaining secondarily in the background to orient the other activities that by necessity come to the foreground. Actually I found that the development in conjunction with dealing with stakeholders became mostly intuitive in my own projects, in dealing with such issues as raised in your diagram. The mind boggles at how you would scale that for an organisation of the complexity of BOI. I suppose it is done by constraining complexity at the requirements analysis stage, but nearly always once the development gets underway and the detail reveals itself, proliferating complexity happens anyway. Well I have never managed to preempt it, no matter my efforts. Anyway, as I said I am only extrapolating from my own projects. I'm only speaking as an analyst/development grunt. Not even a very experienced one. But I'm interested to see if anyone on here has any insights about what they did in BOI and whether the other banks would be able to emulate it.


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