This episode is our third episode recorded live. This time, in Dusseldorf, Germany after attending the Supply Chain Insights Live Europe 2019 event where leaders from around Europe were learning how to drive a true digital transformation of their supply chain operations. To see our recap of the event, click here.
Blaine: So, obviously, Johannes, we've spoken a lot over the last few days, especially being part of the supply chain event. I've heard a little bit about your story. Why don't you tell our listeners the story of yourself and how you founded parcs IT?
Johannes: I was in IT for a very long time. I've been doing software development, computer science, and software architecture for many, many years. Even at school I started. We did a little program on an Apple II computer.
Blaine: Ah yes! I also started my career the on the Apple II computer. So, I think we are probably the same age. [Laughter]
Johannes: So, that's the early days. And after university, I started, with two colleagues, our company, parcs IT Consulting. We wanted to do IT projects and so we started this consultancy and got the initial contract and the company then started and grew.
Blaine: What kind of technology were you using back when you started parcs IT?
Johannes: It was a software development environment, Forte Software. I used it at university and later on, we started projects in industry very close together with Forte Software in Germany. We did some mutual fund management system, then early on, some customer database for an airline.
So, pretty big systems. It was also a distributed environment based on 4GL. Even at that time, you had some proprietary technologies. It was very interesting times.
"You have to really think about what helps your business. But if you have decided, move on it very fast. That's what technology allows you to do. Agility does not mean do anything without having thought it through. You should prepare well and then act quickly."
- Johannes Schmitz-Lenders
Blaine: So, what excites you about what's going on in the intersection of business and technology these days? What keeps you interested in being part of this industry?
Johannes: I thought at sometime companies must be ready with all this IT stuff. I thought 10 years ago, people would create very interesting systems like managing the signs on meeting rooms. So, you think, "Now, they must be done." But still, it's going on. You'll get new technologies, new ideas. It never stops. It's really impressive. You'll always get exciting, new stuff. It's always getting easier.
If you take environments like dev ops like Kubernetes, for example. Everybody's using Kubernetes these days which makes it much easier to run scalable, distributed systems in the cloud or datacenter. You always get interesting, new progress in the field.
Blaine: Very interesting. A lot of the discussion about digital transformation revolves around not just technology, but about the agility of the business: how fast they can move, maybe how fast they can implement technology. But, we were discussing yesterday, you feel it's not just about how quickly you can build applications, but also about the delivery and management. Can you talk about that a little bit more?
Johannes: Yes. So what I see with all these dev ops technologies, I think people like to have these technologies: play around with, build solutions themselves. But that is for enterprises. That's a lot of work. So, you have these def ops engineers and the tools are really complex.
Very often, you do not have only one tool. You have a tool chain. The complexity much, much higher and unique. You need many, many expert people for building such tool chains, automated processes, and software production. I think that maybe people in enterprises went away more and more to the cloud, away from data centers because it's not a core business to have a data center.
I think that shouldn't be the core business, of many companies, to build integration or software development to chains because that is something the product providers can give you as a product, the platform.
Blaine: Yep absolutely. One of the favorite parts of my conversations with guests is to ask them if there's an area of conventional wisdom that they generally disagree with where everybody is thinking X but maybe you think Y. Is there an area like that for you?
Well I've been in IT for more than 20 years. People tend to say everything has to go fast, but of course, you have to think what you are going to do and then act fast. I think people should mix that when they talk about agility or high productivity. You have to really think about what helps your business. But if you have decided, move on it very fast. That's what technology allows you to do. Agility does not mean do anything without having thought it through. You should prepare well and then act quickly. I think many people do not understand that agility is not only about speed in itself. It must be for something which gives you value in the longer term.
To view episodes from VANTIQ TV, go to vantiq.com/tv and let us know what you think at email@example.com. Those interested in learning more about Johannes' work at parcs IT should check out his web site at parcs.de. You can reach out to us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.