In this episode of Walter’s World Podcast, Walter meets with Jeff Keizer – Director of Technical Operations, CPT Global. They discuss how to approach the mainframe modernization journey from a business perspective and why the mainframe assessment plays a crucial role in the success of a project.
Walter Sweat, CTO, Astadia: Hi, everyone! Welcome to thelatest edition of Walter's World, the Podcast series from Astadia. My name is Walter Sweat, andI'm a Astadia’s CTO and these podcastseries are designed to share pertinent information from great guests for apeople who are interested in mainframe modernization and migration.
Today, I am delighted to be joinedby Jeff Keizer, who's the Director ofTechnical Operations for CPT,one of the Astadia’s strategic partners. Jeff, welcome, glad to have you with us today.
Jeff Keizer, Director of Technical Operations, CPT: Thanks,Walter. It's great to be here.
Walter Sweat, CTO, Astadia: I appreciate it, Jeff. Well, I know well who CPT is. I sort of recognizethat CPT may not be ahousehold name for everyone who's listening today. Can you tell us a little bitabout CPT and the typesof services that you as a company provide.
Jeff Keizer, Director of Technical Operations, CPT: Sure,Walter. So, CPThas been in business for nearly thirty years. We're actually publicly listed onthe ASX, our headquartersare in Melbourne, Australia, andwe operate in thirty-fivecountries around the world. CPTis not just an acronym, itactually stands for things. So,the C is capacity, P isfor performance, and the Tis for testing. So it'sa very meaningful name to us. And it's kind of where our pedigree is.
Wedo optimization services in those spaces. So we optimize capacity. We optimizeperformance. We optimize testing to deliver those business solutions andoutcomes. So you know, a lot of that is in the mainframe space, that's where westarted. But we'veevolved well beyond that, into the mid range space and into the cloud space aswell.
Walter Sweat, CTO, Astadia: I's interesting. We at Astadia who are focused on mainframemigration and modernization, we recognize that's only one part of the effortand things that people need to be concerned with optimization and performance,and all of the things that you mentioned are really critical components of people being able to successfully judgewhat their options are moving forward. So that's really one of the reasonswe're quite excited for partnering with CPT.
It'snot just about moving. It's about how you get there. It's the journey, absolutely right. Jeff, you mentioned that you're inthirty-five different countries are there some specific business areas that youand CPT have tended tofocus on more than any others.
Jeff Keizer, Director of Technical Operations, CPT: We do. We generally work withour it partners to deliver those business challenges that the business partnershave challenges with. So it's around thecustomer and the user experience. So sometimes they're the end customer.Sometimes it's the internal user that has those experiences. So it's how weimprove availability, resiliency response time reducing total cost of ownership.So you know, when you think of those components, and where we play thoseapplied almost every industry in every business area. So we're quite agnostic,quite versatile from that perspective in that we work everywhere and across all platforms.
Walter Sweat, CTO, Astadia: It makes sense. It's importantfor people to know that it's not just siloed verticals. That in which you work,that there is commonality as the same thing that we face commonality, that canprovide benefit in all of the industries.
What about yourself? I'm sure the audience will beinterested in learning a little bit about you and your background.
Jeff Keizer, Director of Technical Operations, CPT: I've gota bit of a story in history, so I've been both on the client side, in the business. I've beenon the consulting side both as, you know, working for a vendor and also as anindependent. So, I started off doing product delivery and development, moved into a business IT operational role foralmost a decade with a large insurer, got into some business development work with CPT.Then actually left CPT for a while, and did someindependent consulting around application performance management, and also gotinto cyber security as well. Andthen recently come back to CPT to help drive our modernization journey with our clients.
Walter Sweat, CTO, Astadia: That's a very and interestingbackground that you've got. You've seen it from all angles. It sure seems. It helps bring it theperspective of both the client and the customer.
Jeff Keizer, Director of Technical Operations, CPT: Yeah,absolutely.
Walter Sweat, CTO, Astadia: Speaking about customers. I think that this is an importantquestion. And the reason I ask it is oftentimes when we talk to new potentialcustomers, they really don't know what to look for. They've never done thisbefore. It's all new to them, so they don't even necessarily know whatquestions to ask. The questionI would ask you then, is, why would a customer or partner want to work with CPT.What is it that you're going to provide? That would be really of importance tothem?
Jeff Keizer, Director of Technical Operations, CPT: One of the key reasons why CPT is so successfulis because of our independence. Wework with a lot of customers. We work with a lot of different vendors a lot ofdifferent partners, and we always work to our clients benefit. So it's what'sright for our client in those contexts. So you know, in some cases it may be one vendor orpartner. In other cases,it may be another vendor, a partner, but we always work to what's best for theclient. And ourcustomers really appreciate that view, and that we're not always, you know,trying to push a particular vendor or particular solution. We bring what'sright for them, and that that builds the trust in our relationships.
Jeff Keizer, Director of Technical Operations, CPT: We deal with a multitude ofvendors and suppliers across the world, and you know we have a great depth ofexperience in our consultant base with experience across all those products. Sowe have that depth of experience to draw from that variability of the differentproducts and the different solutions that we can bring. All of that knowledgeand expertise that we've garnered over the last thirty years, working with our dozens of clients to bring the rightsolution to the table, and not just the one that might be popular at the time, doing what's right, for the client isalways a great way to approach business.
Walter Sweat, CTO, Astadia: So we talked about clients.Jeff. Do you also have your own partner, ecosystem partners with whom you work,who perhaps specialize in certain areas.
Jeff Keizer, Director of Technical Operations, CPT: We've dealt with many partners. Some ofthem are formal partnerships. Wedeal with pretty well every piece of software technology solution that's outthere given our our varied client base. Sowhether it's a formal partnership or in formal, we leverage all of thoserelationships or formal partnerships, so that we can bring those, you know thedesired solution and deliver those outcomes that the clients looking for.
Walter Sweat, CTO, Astadia: That makes sense absolutely. Wetalked before about different industries. Could you share just and even thoughI know you talked about it'snot a siloed sort of situation. What are some of the industries where you havebeen able to have success in helping your clients?
Jeff Keizer, Director of Technical Operations, CPT: Yeah. We've had very significantsuccesses in the banking industry as well as insurance, some of the large, heavy, high volume processing the highly transactional environments when it comes down to optimization.
We also do a lot of work in Telco's health care, some work in government payments,processing, transportation, retail, manufacturing. So we work with pretty welleverybody we haven't run into an industry where we can't be relevant. Yet
Walter Sweat, CTO, Astadia: That that absolutely makes sense, and Iappreciate you sharing especially about the optimization for some of the highperformance environments that are out there that's critical, and they need toconsider that early on in the process. And that's where that experience comes into play. I absolutely agree.
Jeff Keizer, Director of Technical Operations, CPT: And someof that Walter is notjust about processing efficiency. Sometimes it's about business process aswell. So understanding the business aspect of that process can sometimes have avery measurable impact on the ITEnvironment, especially when it comes to our testing services, unit testing businessacceptance, testing, being able to drive speed to market as far as being ableto deliver products quicker faster, cheaper. So it's not always about how fast we can process a unit ofwork. Sometimes it's about is how we can improve quality and improve the ability to deliver to market in a more timely fashion.
Walter Sweat, CTO, Astadia: Thank you for sharing that. This is a question I've asked many ofthe people with whom I've had a chance to talk on these podcasts, and I find itintriguing from your perspective. Has CPT seen the number of organizations who are starting to considermodernization projects increasing over the last number of years?
Jeff Keizer, Director of Technical Operations, CPT: It has definitely increased, you knoweverybody's talking about it. Alot of the smaller organizations are executing on it. A lot of our largerorganizations are looking at techniquesand approaches is how they can move some workloads, right? The larger the environment, the more complex the environment, the more proneto failure that opportunity is. So they're looking at how they can build measurable uh outcomesaround. Can they take individual workloads or business functions, and look atrefactoring, re-hosting. Whenwe get into some of these large enterprise environments, being able to pick upthe entire environment move. It is not necessarily a, you know, successfuloutcome. Some of that involves taking smaller pieces of workload, looking atreplacement products. So it's not necessarily always a on size fits all.
Jeff Keizer, Director of Technical Operations, CPT: I thinkthat's so critical that there is no right or wrong answer, or a right answer that's right for everyone.Um, we hear a lot of, you know. I want to get off the mainframe Right? That'sThat's a lot of the conversation you hear, and you know sometimes that's not even necessarily the right answer.Sometimes it's weneed to move some of our workload off of the mainframe. We need to modernizesome of our workloads. And there can be multiple solutions that are the right solution for the client depending on what the business needsare.
Walter Sweat, CTO, Astadia: That's why I feel a company likeCPT is so critical, sinceyou have done that, and you understand the nuances of it being able to help people understand what the options are and help them determine what the optimumsolution is for them is critical.
Jeff Keizer, Director of Technical Operations, CPT: Andsometimes retiring applications is the right answer. If there's not enough businessvolume, right? Spendingmillions of dollars, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to refactor orre-host, an application may notmake sense right, sometimes retiring that application, or finding, you know,off the shelf piece of software that could replace it, might be the rightanswer.
Walter Sweat, CTO, Astadia: So in terms of clients,modernizations, including some of the things you just talked about, CPT has an overall approachabout how you help your customers.
Jeff Keizer, Director of Technical Operations, CPT: Yeah, wedo, Walter, and itreally starts with understanding the business outcomesand the business strategy. So, you know, we talk about it, and the reality is that it is thereto support the business. So we need to understand what that business strategyis, what the priorities, the objectives, the growth plans are, you know, if there's compliance orsecurity concerns those sorts of things, that factor into the discussion, rightto understand what that true motivation and the desire is right. Those all thenfeed into what an IT strategyshould be comprised of right. So, looking at their capabilities, you know, when we talk aboutmodernization, a lot of the organizations that we we talk to come to us becausethey've got skills drain right so they can't find the appropriate skills tomaintain the environment that can factor into the it strategy that the businessmay not be aware of.
Jeff Keizer, Director of Technical Operations, CPT: Looking at the partnerssupportability, application,currentcy, end of support and life cycles. So all that kind of plays intounderstanding the business and the IT strategy, so that we can help them derive some successfuloutcomes
Jeff Keizer, Director of Technical Operations, CPT: wetalked about. You know all the kind of options that are out there when it comesto modernization, Right? So that's when we look at, can we re-host um isre-platforming an option refactoringthe code. Um, can you? And like I said, previously can we just buy a piece ofsoftware off off the shelf that could replace that and move it to a differentplatform to make it, you know, instantlyavailable on the cloud, for example. The other option which some people don't even think about iswell. Do we just keep doing what we're doing in some cases? And then there'sthat retirement question. So you know, if you've got a small volume of work, low book, a business? Um, maybe the rightanswer is to retire that application. But when we factor all that together.That's what we do. Well is to help those clients to understand what thatroadmap looks like.
The whole road map doesn't equal one of those options right? The roadmap usually consists of multiple options,multiple solutions and multiple paths, right? But we help them to buildthat from a prioritized perspective to help them understand the road thatthey're going down. Some of these aren't short journeys right. Some of themtake, you know, months mightbe an understatement. Usually, you know, we're talking things, you know, six,nine, twelve months, and many years.
Walter Sweat, CTO, Astadia: In some cases depending on thesize of the organization and the workloads.
I've been impressed by that holisticapproach that CPT takes trying to identify everycomponent that's there, and seeing what the best options are for organizationsas they move forward. That to me is how you really do help them in theirjourney.
Jeff Keizer, Director of Technical Operations, CPT: It is a journey right? And itstarts with that assessment, right? So you know, like we said, understandingthe strategy both from the business and the it perspective building thatroadmap. But then, you know,you've got a lot of work to do once you know where you want to go right? You've got to build thedelivery program testing and assurance how to operate it, you know. It takes a lot of work onceyou know where you're going to go to actually get there. And that's the otherplace where CPT strengthis in. The T is in thattesting space and building out the assurance that those those platforms aregoing to be able to be operated, maintained reliably and scalably, and you can perform to the end usersexpectations.
Walter Sweat, CTO, Astadia: Those of us in the industry along time recognize that there is no such thing as too much testing and that the beauty of the mainframe,of course, is that you can always depend upon it always works the same waywell, and trying to look at different options, to test to ensure that you'restill able to provide that level of performance and accuracy is reallycritical.
Jeff Keizer, Director of Technical Operations, CPT: You can pick stuff up andmove it to the cloud. But do you know that you're going to have the rightcapacity that you're going to be able to provide the right performanceexpectations to the users. And, more importantly, is it going to functionally, and you know, non functionally performfor your users right? So testing is a massive part of that when we look at a lot of um, the outout outlook that our our partners in this ecosystem have close to sixty percentof the work effort thatwe see is related to testing um. So you know, as far as being able to test in avery efficient and optimized manner, making sure that you've got the rightquality and consistency, and the right approaches to test effectively arehighly critical to the sex Successful outcome of one of these projects and programs of work.
Walter Sweat, CTO, Astadia: It makes sense. Jeff. So I thinkyou've been able to share some really pertinent and helpful information withour audience today. I just like to ask, as we wrap things up, is there a key message thatyou'd like to share with the people listening today?
Jeff Keizer, Director of Technical Operations, CPT: Yeah,the assessment is really where this all starts, you know, and the key piecethere is. It's not just about it. It's about the business as well. So,understanding the business inputs, the business outcomes what success lookslike, that feeds intothat entire assessment um process to make sure that we evaluate all of theoptions and look at prioritizing those options so that we can deliversuccessful outcomes,right? Not just from an ITperspective. But again, it's ultimatelythe business that needs to be successful. So that combination of assessmentdeveloping that roadmap, making sure that there's appropriate and efficient testing that's going to give theconfidence back to the business that those outcomes can be achieved willfunctionally and non functionally. That gives the assurance that the programcan be successful, and CPT iswell positioned to deliver on all aspects of that program life cycle. And again, we're a trusted advisor because we areindependent. So we're welook at what the right solutions, what the right partners, what the rightecosystems are for the business partner.
Walter Sweat, CTO, Astadia: I think that's an incrediblyimportant message for everyone who's looking at uh modernization opportunitiesand options.Jeff, I would like to thank you very much for taking time out ofwhat I know is a very busy schedule for you, and I am sure that the audience they really enjoyed the chanceto learn more about CPT.
Jeff Keizer, Director of Technical Operations, CPT: Thanks so much for the opportunity, Walter.
Walter Sweat, CTO, Astadia: That was absolutely my pleasure,and for everyone attending today,thank you once again for taking the time out of your day to attend oneof the Walter’s World podcasts. We hope thatyou will continue to follow us, and we're looking forward to bringing you many more interesting people presenting information that we hope is very helpful to you. Thank you all, and have a fantastic day.
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