This month our Industry Innovator is Andy Gaidar, our Director of Portfolio Solutions. Andy has over 30 years of experience in the technology space and has seen the inner workings of how our world has changed dramatically in that time.
To demonstrate Andy’s expertise and contribution to the industry, we asked him to reminisce on his career and highlight the most impactful changes he has seen in technology. Here is what he had to share:
It’s hard to imagine that 20 years ago I was anxiously awaiting the clock to strike midnight to assure code changes within our green screen application wouldn’t crash when going from a two to four-year digit date format. All our applications were simply data-driven. It was all about getting data into the system and then reporting on it. There weren’t workflows, artificial intelligence, or machine learning processes to be concerned about. It was a single-platform confined within our network environment with no integrations connected to thousands of devices around the world. At the time, our systems (mostly homegrown, built-in COBOL) were at least 20 years old and yet to be considered legacy.
Even though the Y2K hype ended up being anti-climactic, it makes me think, with today’s technology advancements and dependencies, what would happen if a similar event such as Y2K occurred today. Systems and solutions become antiquated at a more rapid pace, making it even more difficult to support and protect them. A recent study completed by the Center for Digital Government showed that 57% of respondents say their systems are becoming legacy after just five years.
When I first started my career, I helped manage around 30 service bureaus that were microfilming documents or processing microfilm. A majority of our customers were global financial institutions. They were processing, managing, and delivering microfilmed checks back to the originator to be funded. As you can imagine this process was heavily dependent on transportation for delivering the rolls of microfilm. For example, I remember when 9/11 occurred it shut down our financial industry due to flight restrictions and the inability to transport check information from one institution to another.
It is completely amazing to see how the analog world transformed into what we have available today in just the last 20 years. The progression of technology has occurred at such a high pace that the focus has changed from looking at images through an eye-loop (Google it if you don’t know what that is), to now focusing on the ability to use that data with predictive analytics using AI.
From a career perspective, you wonder how we accomplished business just 20 years ago. We had to carry a map with us to drive anywhere, and now we simply look at a device in our hand that’s telling us where to go. It’s amazing there were not more car accidents when we were heads down looking at maps then talking on our cell phones today.
Technology is being developed at such a fast pace and layered on itself over and over again that it’s almost impossible to understand what’s going to happen next.
My dad, who was somewhat of a self-proclaimed historian, would always ask me what the next thing was going to be. There would be nothing that could top the invention of the television or sending a man to the moon, he would say. Then nothing could top the cell phone or the computer. I think he eventually realized that technology advancement is not going to stop and there would always be inventions that we could not even imagine today.
It’s hard to predict the future of course, but Nikola Tesla, the great American inventor, might have been better at seeing the future than most of us. In 1926, he said:
“When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this but through television and telephony, we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do this will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket”.
You can connect with Andy on LinkedIn. Be on the lookout for next month’s Innovator.