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Infrastructure Matters – Insider Edition with AveriSource CMO Ed Airey at SHARE Orlando 2024

Infrastructure Matters - Insider Edition with AveriSource CMO Ed Airey at SHARE Orlando 2024

In this episode of Infrastructure Matters – Insider Edition, host Steven Dickens is joined by Ed Airey, VP of Marketing at AveriSource for a conversation on how AveriSource is helping organizations gain more insights and knowledge about their applications, empowering them to be able to modernize.

Key topics include:

  • An introduction from Ed Airey on his role at AveriSource
  • An overview of AveriSource and the AveriSource platform which consists of five main products: Scan, Inventory, Discover, Analyze, and Transform, to help with application understanding and modernization
  • The importance for organizations to understand their applications
  • The role of AI in modernization

You can watch the video of our conversation below, and be sure to visit our YouTube Channel and subscribe so you don’t miss an episode.

Listen to the audio here:

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Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this webcast. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this webcast.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

Transcript:

Steven Dickens: Hello. Welcome to another episode of the Infrastructure Matters Insider Edition. I’m joined today by Ed Airey from AveriSource. Hey Ed, welcome to the show.

Ed Airey: Thank you, Steve. It’s great to be here.

Steven Dickens: It is. I always love it when we get a chance to chat.

Ed Airey: Absolutely.

Steven Dickens: I’m looking forward to today’s episode. So, let’s get going here. Tell us a little bit about your role, and then we’ll dive into AveriSource.

Ed Airey: Of course. I lead the marketing organization at AveriSource. I’m the VP of marketing, so focusing on go to market and really raising visibility for AveriSource as a modernization company.

Steven Dickens: So, AveriSource, I’ve been working with you guys for, what is it, the last almost year now, it feels. I’m deep in what you guys do, but for our listeners and viewers, who aren’t maybe aware of what you guys do as a company, maybe position what you do and the market need that you address.

Ed Airey: Absolutely. AveriSource helps organizations understand their applications. So we give them more insights and knowledge about how their applications function today, and then empower them with insights to be able to take action on their applications to modernize them. So that might be extracting the business rules, or optimizing the code base, or ultimately, perhaps, transforming the application for cloud native architectures.

Steven Dickens: So I’ve seen that first piece. There’s millions and millions of lines of code out there trying to understand what that code base is. You guys have got some really good proven technology around scan, and that’s where the company comes from. Maybe tell me a little bit more, and we’ll dig in there first.

Ed Airey: Yeah, absolutely. It’s about helping organizations understand their massive code bases. And these are complex applications, as we’ve discussed, very, very large systems measured in millions of lines of code. So, understanding what you have is the first step to modernization, being able to build the inventory, being able to understand the relationships and the dependencies within the programs, and then also the impact of change. AveriSource actually started during Y2K, so we’ve gathered quite a bit of understanding and knowledge during that period and repurposed it within our AveriSource platform that helps organizations optimize their enterprise applications.

Steven Dickens: I think that’s a key thing as I’ve grown to know you guys a little bit more over the last nine months or so. I think for me it’s that proven track record from the Y2K days, and then what you’ve been able to do is kind of fuse that into a modernization story going forward for where your clients are going.

Ed Airey: Absolutely. Well, what we’ve discovered is our clients need options. They want flexibility. They don’t want to be locked into a platform or a particular strategy because plans change, and the environment within IT changes constantly. Particularly now, with AI and all these other factors coming in, organizations need to be nimble, need to be flexible. So understanding your application is just the first step, but then having the tools, the technology, the best practice around how to modernize with a nimble architecture and a nimble strategy is really key.

Steven Dickens: So I think it’s a key point for me, this optionality, innovate and modernize wherever your customers are in their journey and where they are in their plans. So we talked a little bit about scan. Maybe position some of those other components of the product set, just maybe for the listeners and viewers.

Ed Airey: No, absolutely. So, the AveriSource platform is comprised of five main products. Scan is our freemium option, so you can download it from the website. It’s free. It gives you some very baseline information about your application. So the number of lines of code. It gives you a baseline complexity, it tells you the lines of code, but then also the number of languages you have within your application. So it gives you a starting point to start building your modernization strategy.

Steven Dickens: A jumping off point to start your journey basically.

Ed Airey: Absolutely. Absolutely. And then you build from there. So our Inventory package starts building out the inventory and map of your application. Our Discover package allows you to start looking at the architecture and the componentry, and start looking at the relationships and how the application fits together. Analyze, that we just mentioned a moment ago, allows you to start extracting business rules, removing some of the technical debt and really optimizing your application. And then Transform lets you take it to the next level, and now you start modernizing your applications, taking those legacy languages, transforming them to Java, C Sharp, or Microservices.

Steven Dickens: So as you guys have started to come back into the market and started to intersect where clients are with their modernization journey, what’s that feedback been? What’s been the reaction?

Ed Airey: Oh, it’s very positive. Organizations want that flexibility. They want to be able to understand what they have because the dynamic is changing, as we mentioned. The skills picture is very different for them today, being able to bring in new talent. They don’t necessarily have that SME expertise, so they need to compliment that with smarter tools. They also want to understand how do they get to the cloud, so how do they balance staying on the mainframe but also moving to the cloud, and this platform addresses all of those challenges.

Steven Dickens: I think the key thing you mentioned there for me is skills. As people start to look at these big monolithic applications, people that their knowledge, and the developer knowledge, and that sort of tribal knowledge almost is starting to retire out to the platform. So being able to break that sort of lock on the information and the knowledge base of what that application looks like, being able to understand it in a lot more detail, being able to map the dependencies is going to be key regardless of whether you’re going to modernize on the platform or go to other alternatives.

Ed Airey: Absolutely, because maintenance is constant, regardless of your application strategy. So you’ll need to keep pace with the compliance and regulation requirements, or it’s just basic maintenance for security reasons. So, you’re going to be always touching the application in some way or another, whether it’s for innovation or just to keep things running. So having the right skills in place is important. It’s not always easy to do today. So having smarter tools to help offset that challenge is really important.

Steven Dickens: And we’re seeing some of the regulatory frameworks change. We’re seeing Dora in Europe. We’re seeing that starting to impact. I think people are looking for more visibility, maybe looking for code scanning, maybe looking to understand that code base. Being able to say, “Oh, we’re secure by the platform not being that understood by the hacker community” is not enough anymore. We need people to be able to understand the application, understand the dependencies in the application. We’re seeing these applications be connected out to more web services and systems of engagement. The whole landscape’s changing.

Ed Airey: Absolutely, and I think that’s really key. The applications are no longer just behind the firewall. They’re now being exposed to many different things. AI has opened a whole new chapter in interoperability with mainframe based applications and enterprise systems. So that connectivity is becoming more important than ever. And in order to be able to do that effectively and securely, and of course pragmatically, you need to be able to understand your application code base, and that’s really where it all begins and where this AveriSource platform shines.

Steven Dickens: So you mentioned AI. We’re recording this in 2024.

Ed Airey: Of course. Yeah. Yeah.

Steven Dickens: We went about 10 minutes without mentioning AI, so we maybe got to go there. Do you see that starting to come through as a requirement set that’s driving the demand?

Ed Airey: I think it’s still early days. I think many organizations want to understand how to leverage the value of AI. We’re in this learning phase right now, as an enterprise, and certainly in many ways as a market understand the value of AI and how that can be applied to everyday use cases. Modernization is no different. It certainly has a place being able to increase efficiency and speed, but then also quality of the code. So I think there’s certainly a role for AI to play. We’ve incorporated that as part of our construct, our basic construct within our platform for the last nearly 30 years. So it’s a fundamental piece of how we continue to develop our language model and our engine for application understanding, but we’re going to see more of that as we go. Organizations are very hungry to be able to leverage AI and to be able to use it for a competitive advantage.

Steven Dickens: So as people start to watch this video and see the content that we’re creating, how do they engage? How do they get to… What does a typical onboarding for an AveriSource customer look like?

Ed Airey: Oh, absolutely. Well, we recommend that you start with Scan because it’s our freemium option. You understand what your code base looks like. You have some baseline insights, the number of lines of code, the complexity of the code, the mix of the application itself, so it gives you a great starting point. But we also have a great team to help you onboard the larger components of the platform, do some basic training and enablement, and of course, shepherd you through that process in terms of modernizing your applications.

Steven Dickens: So, as we start to wrap up here, Ed, what would the key takeaways be? That modernization’s a huge space. There’s lots of places to come in and out of that and to start to embark on that project. If you were able to give maybe two or three recommendations to your clients, what would those be?

Ed Airey: I would say understand what you have. Start with a solid understanding of your applications. Even if you’re unsure of what your future modernization may be or your strategy, start by mapping out your existing applications that understanding that documentation will be invaluable for you going forward. So that’s number one. Number two is start looking at where you want to go tomorrow and what those challenges will be because the platform is very flexible. It can address a lot of challenges, but you need to understand what you’re trying to solve for today. Is that addressing the skills issue as we discussed? Is that about optimizing the code base? Is that about pulling more value out of the application from a business rule standpoint?

So there’s lots of areas that you can help immediately and drive value immediately. Last but not least, try to understand where you want to be in the future. The platform’s very flexible, but you may want to take in a more advanced step to go to a cloud native architecture and start optimizing your applications for that strategy. One of the nice advantages of this platform is that it’s vendor neutral, it’s platform neutral. So you may decide you want to do that today. You may decide you want to change platforms tomorrow. There’s no run times. There’s no vendor lock-in. There’s no proprietary library file. So that’s very unique to our flavor of modernization is you’re not locked into a platform. You have that optionality to where you may want to go in the future.

Steven Dickens: So, Ed, if you were to capture the essence of AveriSource, and how people should engage with you, what would that be, and what would those recommendations be for some of your customers?

Ed Airey: So AveriSource is an organization that’s designed to help you across your entire application modernization journey, from end to end. So we’ll help you understand what you have, document your applications, gain better insights and knowledge to your existing source code, and then start helping you put into practice some of the strategies to modernize for the future, whether that be business rule extraction, optimizing your existing application code base, or maybe moving to a cloud native architecture. So there’s lots of optionality, lots of flexibility, and you’re not locked in. That’s a unique capability of AveriSource. You have flexibility to move to whatever platform is important tomorrow.

Steven Dickens: Well, Ed, it’s always a pleasure to chat to you. I think AveriSource is well set up for 2024 and beyond. Thanks so much for joining me on the show.

Ed Airey: Thank you, Steven. Great to be here.

Steven Dickens: You’ve been watching another episode of the Infrastructure Matters. Please click and subscribe and do all those things to help the algorithm, and we’ll see you on the next episode. Thank you very much for watching.

Author Information

Regarded as a luminary at the intersection of technology and business transformation, Steven Dickens is the Vice President and Practice Leader for Hybrid Cloud, Infrastructure, and Operations at The Futurum Group. With a distinguished track record as a Forbes contributor and a ranking among the Top 10 Analysts by ARInsights, Steven's unique vantage point enables him to chart the nexus between emergent technologies and disruptive innovation, offering unparalleled insights for global enterprises.

Steven's expertise spans a broad spectrum of technologies that drive modern enterprises. Notable among these are open source, hybrid cloud, mission-critical infrastructure, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and FinTech innovation. His work is foundational in aligning the strategic imperatives of C-suite executives with the practical needs of end users and technology practitioners, serving as a catalyst for optimizing the return on technology investments.

Over the years, Steven has been an integral part of industry behemoths including Broadcom, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and IBM. His exceptional ability to pioneer multi-hundred-million-dollar products and to lead global sales teams with revenues in the same echelon has consistently demonstrated his capability for high-impact leadership.

Steven serves as a thought leader in various technology consortiums. He was a founding board member and former Chairperson of the Open Mainframe Project, under the aegis of the Linux Foundation. His role as a Board Advisor continues to shape the advocacy for open source implementations of mainframe technologies.

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