PSC Group is the Sponsor of the Week at MWLUG.com

July 18 2016

PSC Group, LLC is the Sponsor of the Week on MWLUG.com this week. PSC is proud to be one of the Platinum sponsors at the biggest US user group event of the year. We have been a sponsor every year of MWLUG. We will be at this years event in Austin talking about what we do best: Application Modernization and XPages. We will have an exciting announcement about our future vision of modern web applications and IBM Champions Kathy and Shean will talk about Dashboards. Look forward to seeing everyone in Austin!

Image:PSC Group is the Sponsor of the Week at MWLUG.com

SharePoint to QuickBase Integration Video

July 15 2016

The fifth and last in a series of demonstration videos, my coworker Ken Lamey shows our Microsoft SharePoint to Quickbase integration services that PSC Group, LLC provides. Please enjoy the video - and feel free to contact me directly if you are interested in services like this with Quickbase! You can reach me at jhead@psclistens.com.

QuickBase and SharePoint Integration Video

July 13 2016

The forth in a series of demonstration videos, my coworker Ken Lamey shows our Quickbase to Microsoft SharePoint integration services that PSC Group, LLC provides. Please enjoy the video - and feel free to contact me directly if you are interested in services like this with Quickbase! You can reach me at jhead@psclistens.com.

O365 Mail to Quickbase Integration Video

July 11 2016

The third in a series of demonstration videos, my coworker Ken Lamey shows our Microsoft Office365 and Quickbase integration services that PSC Group, LLC provides. Please enjoy the video - and feel free to contact me directly if you are interested in services like this with Quickbase! You can reach me at jhead@psclistens.com.

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July 11 2016

Hello 42 ... Happy Birthday to me!

Lotus Notes to Quickbase Migration Video

July 7 2016

The second in a series of demonstration videos, my coworker Ken Lamey shows our IBM/Lotus Notes to Quickbase migration services that PSC Group, LLC provides. Please enjoy the video - and feel free to contact me directly if you are interested in services like this with Quickbase! You can reach me at jhead@psclistens.com.

The Legacy of Legacy Applications and the Road Ahead

July 6 2016

Note: an edited version of this entry can be found on the Quickbase blog as a call to action to their "Early Stage Digital Transformation: Leaving Your Legacy Systems Behind" webinar. You can still view the webinar by completing the form here.

The “Legacy” of Legacy Applications and the Road Ahead

As any professional knows, the dream of using modern, mobile, fast applications all day, every day is measured against the realities of time, money and resources. Every organization has those line of business applications that run the day to day operations that no one likes to use. But why can’t IT modernize those applications fast enough? What alternatives are out there? Let me give you my perspective.

My entire career in technology, which started in 1993, has been on working with line of business applications – or as analysts call them today, Systems of Engagement. I far preferred working with business professionals and face down writing code. Learning what they did, how they did it, and how I could improve those processes. I allowed my coworkers to deal with the backend systems – today’s Systems of Records. But I immersed myself in learning the ins and outs of my customer’s business. It’s what a good consultant does. In the mid-90s, this meant working with word processors, spreadsheets, light-weight databases, and the immerging world of groupware. My clients used Lotus Ami Pro, Lotus 1-2-3, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, and Lotus Notes. Lotus Notes, now IBM Notes, spread like wildfire within an organization. Why? Because anyone who could write a macro in a spreadsheet could build an application in Notes. As someone without a formal programming education or experience, I could build a fairly powerful application. And as Notes and the productivity suites – Lotus SmartSuite and Microsoft Office – evolved and added a scripting language – my development skills evolved with them.

These applications were usually workflow-based form routing. Processes like New Product Development, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and anything that required collaboration. I had customers with hundreds, if not thousands, of these applications. And for the most part, the IT department did not need to be involved. IT was focused on the large financial (ERP) systems and other bigger tasks. But that lead us to the problem of a stagnant catalog of applications.

As technology gave us better hardware, mobile devices, and a platform for universal development delivery in the web browser, IT began to lock down on the rapid application development that Notes had become. Other tools took its place – Lotus Quickplace/Quickr, Microsoft SharePoint, and more. But these platforms were still controlled by the IT department. As the IT budgets crunched and their focus spread across infrastructure and applications – most organizations developed a backlog. The users had to find a solution.

I remember the first time I heard about Basecamp, what I consider to be one of the first ‘shadow IT’ products. A customer told me about how one of their projects was struggling to work with their customers. They needed to collaborate across files and project schedules. The tools IT provided were not cutting it. Email was too slow and cumbersome and they couldn’t email around the huge files they needed to collaborate on. My colleague shared with me that the complaints stopped and IT went on to the next fire drill. A few months later, he said he had some time and investigated the project. Turns out that the project executive was so frustrated he turned to the web. He searched for a project management tool and found Basecamp. 100% on the web, it gave them the basic tools they needed. They could tailor it to the project. And they could pay for 10 users with a credit card. But of course, like many Shadow IT initiatives, there was no backup, no legal retention, and all of the other things that IT thinks about when they implement a system. Thus began the struggle between the business and IT. Other products such as Salesforce and Quickbase also got their start focusing on being alternatives to the solutions IT offered users inside the firewall.

I find it so surprising how many people I talk to still use a spreadsheet for a core business function. Why? Because they can. There are not constraints about what they can do within that spreadsheet. Need a list? Done. Need a project plan, easy. Need a quick macro to figure out projections? Give a power user a day or less. But all of these users tell me they want more.

The idea of Application Modernization is not new, even if the name has only been embraced by the analyst community in the past few years. The need to upgrade business critical applications has always been there. The problem is finding the time for IT to work on them. One of the discussions I have with my customers most is how we can help them with this problem.

Image:The “Legacy” of Legacy Applications and the Road Ahead

Figure 1 - PSC's Application Modernization methodology

I am lucky to speak at conferences like Empower 2016 on this topic all over North America. In these talks, I focus on the five Application Disruptors that cause users to look outside the provided applications and platforms inside their company. They are:

1.        User Experience

2.        Cloud

3.        Social

4.        Mobile

5.        Modern Workflow

Image:The “Legacy” of Legacy Applications and the Road Ahead

Figure 2 - The Five Application Distruptors

Any of these can be applied to the reason why a person or organization looks for alternatives. For a user, they are looking for a solution to solve a single problem. IT organizations are looking for tools that allow them to respond to business requests faster. They also want platforms that can empower their users to build their own solutions, called Citizen Development, but still provide functionality and control. Single Sign-on, backups, and legal retention give the IT team peace of mind. And the platforms are stepping up.

As platforms such as Quickbase straddle the Shadow IT and Citizen Development spaces and cater to both the user and IT departments. Not only can Quickbase provide the spreadsheet power user the perfect tooling for enhanced collaboration and functionality, they can provide corporate IT with a company-wide application platform to rapid application development and peace of mind.

2016 seems to be the year where organizations of all size are ready to focus on their legacy application portfolios. Why? I think there are many factors converging all at once. The focus on mobile, the move to the cloud, the impact of millennials and their habits, and the drive to getting away from large scale platforms that cannot be easily upgraded. Both Lotus Notes and Microsoft SharePoint are the top two targets in this space.

No matter if you are a business user looking for a better way to get your daily work done, or an IT organization looking to respond to the needs of the business faster, there are a lot of opportunities for modernization of legacy systems today. The only option is to do nothing. If you do nothing, someone else will.

SharePoint Migration to Quickbase Video

July 5 2016

The first in a series of demonstration videos, my coworker Ken Lamey shows our Microsoft SharePoint to Quickbase migration services that PSC Group, LLC provides. Please enjoy the video - and feel free to contact me directly if you are interested in services like this with Quickbase! You can reach me at jhead@psclistens.com.

Social Connections 2016 Toronto - “What the App?”… A Modernization Strategy for Your Business Applications

June 30 2016

Here are the slides from my session “What the App?”… A Modernization Strategy for Your Business Applications that I gave at Social Connections 2016 earlier this month in Toronto.

It’s 2016 – your application portfolio is being reviewed and scrutinized. Email and application platforms are being separated. Users’ expectations of their work experiences are higher than ever. Your social platform is stable and maturing. But you’re invested in your applications (Notes, Domino, and much more) – what do you do? Looking through the lens of IBM ICS solutions, we will answer that question by providing a roadmap and experiences to help you choose the best path. We will deep dive into the five aspects of Application Modernization: User Experience, Cloud, Mobile, Modern Workflow & special focus on the last – Social. See demos of actual application transformations and the impact they have within an organization. We will also show how your applications, integrated into your social platform, increases productivity and engagement. Learn how new functionality in the products will make your journey easier. See live demos putting AM into practice.


“What the App?”… A Modernization Strategy for Your Business Applications from John Head

IBM Amplify 2016 - DDX-1420: Bringing Your Web Applications to the IBM Digital Experience

June 30 2016

Here are the slides I presented at my session "DDX-1420: Bringing Your Web Applications to the IBM Digital Experience" at IBM Amplify 2016 in May.

IBM WebSphere portal has been seen as the realm of the back-end developer with specialized Java skills. This has been a barrier to entry to the IBM Domino community. IBM has transformed the product to the IBM Digital Experience platform – and it’s not just a name change! With the inclusion of the Script Portlet and IBM Portal on Cloud option, it’s time to look again. This session explains how to integrate your XPages applications, IBM Bluemix and even Microsoft SharePoint. It also demonstrates content re-purpose without migration. If you are looking for a single point of integration for all your applications, this session is for you!


DDX-1420: Bringing Your Web Applications to the IBM Digital Experience from John Head

Quickbase Empower 2016 - Transitioning Data from Legacy Systems into QuickBase

June 30 2016

here are the slides from the session at Quickbase Empower 2016 for "Transitioning Data from Legacy Systems into QuickBase" that my coworker Ken Lamey and I delivered.

Locked deep inside your company, legacy data is the running your business – and holding you back. It’s one of the reasons for the rise of Shadow IT and Citizen Developers. Users today don’t just need access; they need to use that data in ways most enterprise systems can’t provide. We will take a look at how legacy data can be transformed within your organization. Three options will be discussed: Modernized, Integrate, and Migrate. We will show you how tools such as QuickBase Sync and Zapier can unlock your legacy data. We will also show you tools built that allow migration from IBM Notes & Domino and Microsoft SharePoint to QuickBase with just a few clicks! Come learn how to leverage all of your data!


Cloud Saturday 2016 - The Cloud and You - the ’as a service’ disruption you can’t ignore

June 29 2016

Here are my slides from Cloud Saturday 2016 - The Cloud and You - the ’as a service’ disruption you can’t ignore on April 30th, 2016.

In any discussion about cloud, there are lots of buzzwords being thrown out by analysts and vendors. "Digital Transformation", "Democratization of IT", "Citizen Developer", and many more. Add in the 'as a Service" explosion and it is hard to make heads and tails over what will add value to your business. This session will cut through the hype and help bring a reality check to how the Cloud can help you. This session is for everyone: Administrator, Developer, IT Executive, or Business User. Plan on leaving with a deeper understanding and ideas of where you can take advantage.


The Cloud and You - the ’as a service’ disruption you can’t ignore from John Head

John Speaks 2016 - Social Connections 10

May 6 2016

Social Connections is coming back to North America for the tenth edition in Toronto and for the first time, I am speaking at the event! I am excited to take the PSC story of Application Modernization and make the social side the dominant story. I am speaking on June 7th, 2016 at 3:10 PM EDT. My session:

“What the App?”… A Modernization Strategy for Your Business Applications

It’s 2016 – your application portfolio is being reviewed and scrutinized. Email and application platforms are being separated. Users’ expectations of their work experiences are higher than ever. Your social platform is stable and maturing. But you’re invested in your applications (Notes, Domino, and much more) – what do you do? Looking through the lens of IBM ICS solutions, we will answer that question by providing a roadmap and experiences to help you choose the best path. We will deep dive into the five aspects of Application Modernization: User Experience, Cloud, Mobile, Modern Workflow & special focus on the last – Social. See demos of actual application transformations and the impact they have within an organization. We will also show how your applications, integrated into your social platform, increases productivity and engagement. Learn how new functionality in the products will make your journey easier. See live demos putting AM into practice.

John Speaks 2016 - IBM Amplify 2016

May 5 2016

I am super excited to be speaking at IBM Amplify 2016 in Tampa on May 17th, 2016 at 10:15 AM EDT. With IBM Digital Experience part of the IBM Commerce brand now, there is a whole group of folks with fresh eyes looking at what DX can do. My session:

DDX-1420: Bringing Your Web Applications to the IBM Digital Experience

IBM WebSphere portal has been seen as the realm of the back-end developer with specialized Java skills. This has been a barrier to entry to the IBM Domino community. IBM has transformed the product to the IBM Digital Experience platform – and it’s not just a name change! With the inclusion of the Script Portlet and IBM Portal on Cloud option, it’s time to look again. This session explains how to integrate your XPages applications, IBM Bluemix and even Microsoft SharePoint. It also demonstrates content re-purpose without migration. If you are looking for a single point of integration for all your applications, this session is for you!

John Speaks 2016 - QuickBase Empower 2016

May 5 2016

I am excited about PSC being a sponsor at the QuickBase Empower 2016 conference next week, and my session with my co-worker Ken Lamey.

Transitioning Data from Legacy Systems into QuickBase

Thursday May 12th, 2016 , 11:15 – 12:15 p.m

Locked deep inside your company, legacy data is the running your business – and holding you back. It’s one of the reasons for the rise of Shadow IT and Citizen Developers. Users today don’t just need access; they need to use that data in ways most enterprise systems can’t provide. We will take a look at how legacy data can be transformed within your organization. Three options will be discussed: Modernized, Integrate, and Migrate. We will show you how tools such as QuickBase Sync and Zapier can unlock your legacy data. We will also show you tools built that allow migration from IBM Notes & Domino and Microsoft SharePoint to QuickBase with just a few clicks! Come learn how to leverage all of your data!