Yesterday I found myself in a city Oop North, talking to a big company that's considering renewing its phone and call distribution technology.
My part in the project, assuming we agree (a) that we'll work together and (b) an acceptable quantity of ££, would be to design the bit that hooks together their telephony, Internet-based ordering system, in-house ordering system, interactive chat, and so on. Usual kind of stuff - you have a bunch of customers, a bunch of orders, a bunch of phone calls, a bunch of Web searches, and you want the system to understand how they all relate to each other.
Part of the meeting was to establish what technologies they have. The home-built ordering system is probably, at a glance, going to be the interesting one to integrate: it's home-grown, runs on a mainframe, and is written in a combination of COBOL and assembly language.
My challenge to you then, dear, reader, is: do you have a technology running your core business that's written on a more ancient platform than COBOL/assembler? Maxwell (Techworld's editor) and I have a sneaking suspicion that there may well be quite a lot of you out there whose companies haven't quite made it as far as today's technology (sometimes for good reasons, and often - I suspect - not). So please tell us about them!
A short aside before I finish. By a strange coincidence, the aforementioned editor happened to phone when I was sitting in this company's offices. When I told him where I was, the response was: "Ah, if you go down the road you'll get to such-and-such a pub - when I was younger I was on their quiz team, and we won the championship two years running".
Isn't England a small country?