This reminds me that I hate the IBM System i platform (aka IBM Power Systems, aka iSeries, aka AS/400).
Don't get me wrong -- I'm sure it's terrific technology. I'm sure IBM supports many businesses with it and they're happy (although I do wonder why they need to keep re-branding the product line). But my fate is not aligned favorably with respect to System i.
At several companies I have worked for, the business development people struck an ill-conceived deal with IBM, to "support System i." Meetings were had. Agreements were signed. Commissions were paid.
Then it came time to do the work and fulfill the partner agreement. At my last job, my manager came to me and said, "by the way, in your spare time, make sure your work-in-progress supports the IBM platform."
I know nothing about the IBM System i. I have never seen one face-to-face. I have never seen any documentation for it. I enjoy command-line interfaces, but using the System i made MPE/ix seem friendly.
By the way, in spite of the "Universal" moniker, DB2 on the System i is, as far as I can tell, a completely different database implementation, with the brand name "DB2" tacked on as an afterthought.
Here are some suggestion for the System i business development folks at IBM: when you make a deal with small companies to support your platform, make sure they have enough machines to do development and testing. Include electronic documentation so everyone can have access to it. Perhaps even offer some training as part of the deal. And then ask your new partner for a project plan that details such things as:
- Which products they promise to support on the System i.
- When they promise to do the work and have the solution ready.
- Who they will assign to do the work, not ask to do it in their spare time.