Irv Schauer is the Director of Marketing and Service Systems from IBM Boulder. He is responsible for the RETAIN, HONE and IBMLink networks, involving something like a hundred systems. In a past life, he automated the NYSE trading floor, and he is responsible for the "bricks" that IBM engineers carry around - you know, the little cellular radios.
All his systems are operated remotely from Boulder. RETAIN and HONE are both available in 62 countries, and IBMLink is being expanded outside the United States soon. There are 13 "images" - duplicate databases - for RETAIN, 75 for HONE and 8 for IBMLink. Obviously, he is a big fan of operations automation, and he foresees more of the same in the future.
He is also a fan of technology in general. He can justify most new technology in his own mind. Image systems. Just-in-time inventory systems. Bricks. Technology is good. Buy it now! Don't get caught up in the game where you are waiting on next year's hardware; there is always a next year after that. Today's 3090-600E mainframe has power equivalent to eighteen 3033 systems. The same mainframe has more memory than was installed on ALL 370/168s EVER BUILT. "Next year" all this power will be available on your desktop.
He claims that 80% of positions in service industries are "knowledge workers". This is driving the market for faster and more powerful desktop computers. More MIPS on the desktop in turn make the case for higher compatibility between systems. He sees all systems ultimately interconnected seamlessly, with the user being unaware of network connections. "Equipment that does not communicate cannot be tolerated."
Demand for operations staff is declining. On the balance, consultant, programmer and systems management positions are on the rise.