In one way, Coast Capital Savings is not like the others when it comes to its software development platform; but in another way, it’s part of a growing trend.
The Vancouver-based financial and insurance firm is made up of many smaller departments and companies acquired or created over the years.
“We have a lot of systems from different vendors,” said Jannik Plaetner, manager for standards and system architecture at Coast. This means a big part of Plaetner’s job is looking at ways to tie those systems together. Increasingly, he says he’s depending on Microsoft Corp.’s .Net platform to do that. About half of Coast’s 35 developers regularly use .Net, and while older systems contain chunks of ASP and HTML, Java and C, those applications will, whenever feasible, be phased out.
However, “we put a lot of effort into re-working our…systems to interface with .Net,” Plaetner said. And the ROI for making such migrations will have to be looked at hard.
Plaetner said he’s attracted to .Net’s ability to reduce the total amount of code required during the integration process, and the fact that he can now avoid recruiting more costly and harder-to-find Java developers.
Coast isn’t alone. A Forrester Research Inc. report issued last month found that .Net is now more often named the primary development platform by North American companies — 56 per cent of the 322 companies surveyed reported this to be true in their environments. Forrester points to Microsoft’s development tools, notably Visual Studio .Net, as a key driver behind that growth.
But .Net’s gain is not necessarily Java’s loss, the report concluded. Forrester found that as many of half of companies use both platforms. Nor did the report take into account the type of applications being developed on each platform.
Of the seven industries looked at by Forrester, five report .Net as the lead development platform, with the public sector reporting the heaviest use at 65 per cent. Two industries, however, rely more on J2EE – telecom and finance. Plaetner found that news somewhat puzzling. “What we get from our vendors rarely is in Java,” he said. “(It’s) the last thing we see from anybody.”
Some other findings from the Forrester study include: