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IBM & Me: A 37+ Year Odyssey

Through much of my IBM IT career, I was in a leadership position. As a consequence, many industry certifications had to be put to the side. I somehow managed to find myself in high profile engagements or those who were in trouble.

Major Accomplishments:

  • Developed NEAT - Network Enterprise Analysis Tool: Measured IBM’s service response to Large Accounts - VP Award
  • VM/ESA Roll Out - Worked on (then) unannounced product to enable readiness for National release to IBM and Customers
  • SAP Basis - Developed “Big Bang” approach and successfully delivered first IBM Small & Medium Business SAP installation - Numerous awards
  • Developed eBURT - Enterprise Backup & Reporting Tool :: Resulted in excess of $1,000,000.00 savings for IBM Global Services
  • Principal in building Global Configuration Management System worldwide team - Uses TADDM product to discover network assets and software

A bit of History:

In the 80’s, I worked on mainframe VM. I was lead support and tools developer for NSD Southern Area. While there, I developed many tools that allowed our helpdesk of 5 personnel to support over a 1000 end users. I also designed and co-developed a tool that merged VM data with MVS data. This was back in the days where the interfaces we rely on today simply didn’t exist. I also developed a measurement program for the National Service Division that merged the data from 12 distinct databases into a common database to present a measurement system for National or Enterprise accounts. This tool had a dramatic impact on IBM’s ability to reduce costs and increase service performance nationwide. I also found time to work with the Rexx compiler development team in Austria to create a pre-compiler program that allowed for Rexx code to be reused more easily.

In the 90’s, I switched to VM system programming. I was selected to be part of a 3 man team who took unannounced operating system software and installed it on unannounced, next generation mainframe hardware. We were charged with identifying bugs in the OS and application software and often times working with the developers to write fixes for the software. Before leaving VM, I was tasked with creating a plan to 12 database systems into a single VM lpar. This was accomplished on time and led to significant savings for IBM service division. Towards the end of the 90’s, I switched to SAP software. Basis, the core to SAP, was my specialty. As SAP Basis expert, I led the team in rolling out SAP when it was new. Due to time constraints and short implementation windows, IBM was expected to roll out the account very quickly in an era where SAP was just a start-up. We had many SAP modules to do and no time to do it. I came up with a “Big Bang” approach which SAP Germany strongly was opposed to. However, the plans developed were solid and we went ahead with them. The result was the first commercially successful roll-out of SAP for IBM Global Services. Later, SAP Germany switched gears and started recommending the “Big Bang” approach in part due to our success. Prior to that, each module could take 3-6 months each and with over a dozen modules, this was a multi year task. We did ours in less than a year, think it covered 7 modules. While also doing that, I lead a small team of ABAP/4 developers (ABAP/4 is SAP programming language) and we developed an internal tool to perform corrections and transports. This tool saved 100’s of hours of labor across many accounts.

After Y2K, I set off to develop more tools to save time, resources and money. The major accomplishment here was the creation of what we lovingly called e-BURT. e-BURT was the Enterprise Back Up Reporting Tool. We ran agents on all of the dedicated backup servers for IBM and the accounts they serviced and captured the results of the backups. This data was stored in a common database and the Backup teams could easily review the overnights on how the backups performed. Since these are crucial to SLA and SLO objectives, the reports helped IBM maintain high standards and meet objectives across the board. At it’s peak, e-BURT was loading data from 15,000 backup servers on an hourly basis. I left e-BURT to become the global team lead for IBM Americas deployment of TADDM, the Tivoli Application Dependency Discovery Manager. This work was largely troubleshooting and designing the hardware infrastructure along with writing processes and procedures for a Global team at various skill levels.

I have worked on mainframe VM & MVS. Mid-size system Unix, AIX and Linux. Small system OS/2 Warp and Windows (all flavors). Networking CICS, VTAM, RSCS, PVM and TCP/IP. Programming includes APL, PLI, PLAS, PLX, Rexx, Perl, a little assembler, Java, JavaScript, VBA, Basic, C++ and Batch. Databases include Oracle, DB2, Sybase, MySQL, MariaDB and most recently MSSQL.

While a lot of folks highlight a smattering of initials after their names, most of those didn’t exist when I was doing the work. We had to invent the work and instructions to train the people for those letters. I was one of the lucky ones who was able to make it happen and be on the leading (and sometimes bleeding) edge for a large part of it.