Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Memories of IT - mid 90's - Life in a slightly white tower

So I am ensconced in Regina, and IEF usage has plateaued, I am still in the R&D Technical Development area, and I start taking on various projects and research.

One of the projects was to pick a new Project Management tool. Crown has been using some older products but, as in other cases, a lot of the new people had been using MS Project, so the result was pretty much pre-ordained. I also looked at back-end tools for doing a PMO, merging of projects and resource management, all from partner companies. We did not buy any of those, but they would have been really useful on some future projects.

Client-Server, as I mentioned earlier, was getting big, and the merits of 2-tier versus n-tier was already coming up. Two-tier was quick and easy, but it was never clear where the business logic was run, so three to N-tier introduced intermediate platforms where logic parts of the app ran, between the screen and the database. I ended up writing a short methodology for client-server development (wish I had that one too).The thrust was to do your analysis and design so that it was produced in logical parts that could be implemented on different styles of CS, mainly 2 versus n tier.

Our group also did some internal consulting to project teams; mostly I would help do data models on projects. We were a group of about 8 people with different sets of expertise. Pretty much anything new in IT would be evaluated by us, sometimes with a project team doing a trial. I don’t think we ever repeated the evaluation disaster of CS tools.

And so the development cycle I have described before had come around to look at the Individual Insurance area of the company. It used a system called CLASSIC. CL stood for Crown life, don’t know what the rest meant. It was the first online app in the company, developed in the 1970’s in PLI and IMS. It got bigger and bigger over time. I recall that running a system test took forever, and cost a lot of money to run at Crowntek, so the VP in charge said you only got to run it once, and then you implemented. I never worked on the system; this was what I heard from people who did. The actual subject at hand was Agent Management and Compensation, which was sort of an add-on to CLASSIC and did not work well; At least two previous projects had tried to fix this and failed.

One day, our Tech Dev VP came back from a meeting with IBM, and announced we were going to buy a model from IBM for Insurance Systems that would help us with this and other problems. I know that there was also a latent desire to replace CLASSIC itself, which drove this choice. This was actually a second chance for IEF, as the model could be delivered in IEF, so that got me involved.

What IBM had was something called the Insurance Application Architecture, the IAA. ...more next time.

No comments:

About Me

Ontario, Canada
I have been an IT Business Analyst for 25 years, so I must have learned something. Also been on a lot of projects, which I have distilled into the book "Cascade": follow the link to the right to see more.