Midrange News for the IBM i Community

Posted by: Bob Cozzi
Rogue Programmer
Cozzi Productions, Inc.
Is Anyone Still Buying Software for IBM i?
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Published: 20 Feb 2013
Revised: 28 Feb 2013 - 4065 days ago
Last viewed on: 14 Apr 2024 (5116 views) 

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Is Anyone Still Buying Software for IBM i? Published by: Bob Cozzi on 20 Feb 2013 view comments(6)

It seems that like the economy, the IBM i market has lost its middle class.

In the old days, a company would startup and push some software for $2000 to $50,000 and sell them pretty well. Sometime just one each week, but often as high as one per day.

Today, unless you're a legacy IBM i shop or a very high-end shop with IBM i ingrained in your infrastructure, it seems like there is no IBM i market.

Sure you have some legacy tools that people continue to use, but for the most part, I only hear about people living off of Software Maintenance Contracts--new sales are all outside the IBM i market. And certainly software upgrades and even systems administration seem to be on the rise but paying the company you bought the system from, to do an upgrade doesn't seem to me like a glowing (yes "glowing") market.

While we have probably the strongest inertia of any IT platform, I begin to wonder how long a market that in 2013 is barely larger than it was in 1983 can last. Sure it'll last "long enough for me to get mine" as seems to be theme of the baby boomer generation, but is it really that dead out there?

In the old days, a software company could send out 20,000 snail mails and sell to 1 percent. If it was a lower-cost product (under $1,000) often you'd sell to 3 to 5 percent.

Today, if you send out 20,000 emails, you may not sell anything.

I bring this up because it is different from even 10 years ago--while people were moving off IBM i (or whatever it was called back then) they were still spending money on software to solve their problems. Today, not so much.

The motto seems to be "If it ain't working so well, but gets us through the day, its good enough."



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Posted by: clbirk
Premium member *
Comment on: Is Anyone Still Buying Software for IBM i?
Posted: 11 years 1 months 24 days 8 hours 35 minutes ago

I believe that some of it is the "cheap" cost of pc software. From "free" to relatively inexpensive to accomplish the function. For example, I can get for free "ecommerce website software" (magento as an example).

I looked at last common show a software for a mobile device. The cost is $10K a year for the ibmi platform...


I realize that the programmer has to make money, but...


I also wonder if it has to do with it then having to be customized to fit what you need... PC users feel pretty stuck in changing their ways of doing things to fit the software, where as midrange users have wanted the software to do it their way and would not consider the other option.



Posted by: Paulster
Premium member *
Sweden and The Netherlands
Comment on: Is Anyone Still Buying Software for IBM i?
Posted: 11 years 1 months 23 days 21 hours 13 minutes ago

Changed rules! New tendencies!

My customerbase splits in two equal groups that mirror the market all too well. The one half is building hot new modern stuff and uses free stuff combined with buying licenses if the free stuff is good enough. The other half is moving to other none IBM platforms.

So no, nothing is what it used to a decade ago. Strategy: adapt! By the looks of things, you can sell licenses if the software is in high demand, otherwise you give it away and live on support and tweaking. Sounds very much like MySql prior to Oracle...

Posted by: GFuste
Premium member *
Jacksonville, FL
Comment on: Is Anyone Still Buying Software for IBM i?
Posted: 11 years 1 months 23 days 18 hours 49 minutes ago

I think that times have changed.  Us RPG / AS400 programmers and systems folk are getting on in years at our professions.  The "new" kids are all coming into the IT world with visions of Java and .net in their heads.  They want to build their IT systems on windows platforms.  The AS400 is an antiquated dinosaur for them.  They'd rather live in a world of blue screens, rebooting and memory leaks.  They can possibly understand the sheer genius in the design of the OS 400 system and its legendary reliability.  They enjoy their apps and upgrades and constant changes that may or may not be compatible with the current release of jelly donut software.  In our AS400 world it all works and works right.  What's that old saying?  "If you coded in RPG you'd be done by now".  It's true.  Look around your office and see how long it takes to develop java/.net based GUI apps.  It's insane.


The new IT world is designed to require too many people and too many versions of software.  It's geared to sell product from development to user.  Period.

Posted by: neilrh
Premium member *
Jackson, MI
Comment on: Is Anyone Still Buying Software for IBM i?
Posted: 11 years 1 months 23 days 18 hours 4 minutes ago

Added to which. I can write an android or iphone app and have a potential customer base of plenty lots. OR I can write an AS400 app and have a customer base of 5? It ain't rocket science to figure even with a cheap product more customers = more income. Why do oil companies make so much money on such a relatively cheap product? Because EVERYONE buys lots of it. If everyone bought 60 iphones/month imagine how much Apple Corp would be worth.

Posted by: Ringer
Premium member *
Comment on: Is Anyone Still Buying Software for IBM i?
Posted: 11 years 1 months 23 days 14 hours 45 minutes ago

We bought Aldon change management software a year ago. Was getting too complicated to promote code and file changes from dev to production box. Plus auditors want that responsibility removed from developers at some point.

Posted by: johnd01
Premium member *
Comment on: Is Anyone Still Buying Software for IBM i?
Posted: 11 years 1 months 16 days 13 hours 38 minutes ago

We are leaving the Iseries and going to Microsoft AX, so no more IBM software for us.  I've been here 7 years and the ISeries has gone down once, Can't wait to see how many time the have to reboot the Microsoft servers when we go live.