Don Estes

Background Summary

Application Modernization Consultant


Experienced IT consultant with background in several industries and technical environments. Works with hardware and software, functional and performance characteristics of applications, technical staff and corporate executives, sales and marketing. Strong analytic, strategic, and leadership abilities. Interdisciplinary background. Well published. Has reputation for state of the art solutions.International experience.

Specialization since late 1980’s in application modernization of all types, from code migrations to re-architecting and full application re-design and rewrite.

Areas of interest:

  • Technical Interests
    • Legacy Asset Modernization & Replacement
    • Business Process Management (BPM)
    • Solution Architecture
    • Testing, Test Automation & Risk Optimized Testing
    • Enterprise Application Integration
  • IT Management Interests
    • Project Design & Management
    • IT Risk Analysis and Management
    • Business/IT Alignment
    • XML, Web Services and Services Oriented Architectures
  • Product Management, Marketing & Sales

Education includes S.B. in Physics from MIT and a Masters degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Texas. Member Cutter Consortium. Guest Editor Cutter IT Journal, special issues on testing.

Experience Summaries

25+ years experience in legacy asset modernization and integration, both in-place projects and migration from non-IBM mainframes/mid-range systems to IBM mainframes, and from all mainframes to Unix/Windows platforms.

Created numerous legacy modernization solution architecture plans driven by testing accuracy goals and constrained by budgets, risk and delivery schedule for 5 different legacy modernization and migration companies, including both mainframe and non-mainframe projects. Maintains a close working relationship with several specialist companies, including Forecross, Fresche LegacyHTWC, MSS International, Raincode, Trinity Millennium Group, Xactis, and Xseed

BPM architecture assignments:

  • State of Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training: BPM architecture standards for implementation of a new BPM based application and its integration with other applications, plus BPM application design oversight
  • State of Rhode Island Department of IT: BPM architecture standards and integration planning with state portfolio of legacy applications, also advised DoIT on the selection of a BPM platform for statewide use
  • Perot Systems (now Dell): business analysis and design of two BPM applications for a Perot client
  • USPTO: solution architecture for integration of PegaSystems COTS package with modernization solution.

Solution architect for the State of Rhode Island. Multiple assignment evaluated the feasibility of consolidating all the primary mission critical State applications (mainframe, AS/400 and Unix) onto a mainframe Linux or an Intel Linux/Windows platform, including integration (via an enterprise services bus) with Websphere portal server, other web applications, and new applications being built with FileNet, a BPM platform. Previously Year 2000 Advisor to the State CIO.  Avoided the unnecessary expenditure of $17 million on program remediation by outside consultants that was successfully done by state staff.  Conducted compliance testing for applications at two largest state agencies.  Consulted on Y2K plans for all State agencies.

Created the only automated testing system which could objectively prove a program to be Year 2000 compliant, subsequently enhanced to provide automated testing of legacy modernization projects.

Managed successful integration project in Colombia, SA, linking network of mainframes with fault tolerant data communications processor.  Designed proprietary interface board that enabled the solution.  Project required coordination of six groups on four continents and was completed in just 87 days. Subsequently managed re-hosting project for the same client. 

Headed architecture team in a one year study project planning migration of large Unisys mainframe to Unix for a state agency, including 4 major language groups.

Created annual savings of over $1.5 million for fast food chain by developing a historical sales data analysis on IBM mainframe. Developed the statistical analysis software using APL, a powerful mathematical language, and completed the project, estimated to take two years, in just 8 months. This project was used by IBM as a case study in their contemporary advertising.

Generated significant consulting business as the result of a 1997 paper entitled “Year 2000 Strategic Project Design: Risk Assessment, Cost Control and Automated Testing“, published on a private web site.  Also generated speaking invitations and an invitation to join the Cutter Consortium. 

Published articles on testing and test automation, IT risk assessment and mitigation, IT audit, independent validation and verification (IV&V), XML, web services, enterprise application integration (EAI), legacy to web, legacy asset management and re-use, legacy modernization strategies, and IT/legal issues. Had regular column on testing in the Y2K Journal.  Contributor to Cutter IT Journal, eAI Journal, and Crosstalk.

Technical Capabilities

30+ years in mainframe COBOL, including IBM VSAM, CICS, some DB2.  20+ years experience in open systems COBOL, Micro Focus, CA-Realia and AcuCOBOL, and open systems SQL databases.  5 years in XML, XSL and web services for COBOL applications. IBM, Unisys and Bull mainframes. Wang, Data General, DEC (now HP), Tandem (now HP), and AS/400 proprietary mid-range systems. SCO, AIX, Solaris and Linux Unix variant systems. MVS, VSE, VM, MCP, and OS/2200 mainframe operating systems. CA-IDMS, CA-Datacom, DMS/2200, IDS II, DMS2, and TBAM non-relational database systems. VMWare workstation. Windows systems.

15+ years experience with legacy modernization project architectures moving COBOL, Fortran, PL/1, ALGOL, ADSO, APS, CSP, IDEAL, LINC, Natural and Pacbase applications from Wang, Data General, AS/400 and various mainframes to a standardized IBM mainframe or open systems environment. Many required modernizing the user interface and most involved replacement of non-relational data access with SQL.  Some involved restructuring source code to eliminate “spaghetti code”. Some involved automated testing to meet accuracy, delivery and cost goals.

10+ years in IBM COBOL, CICS, VSAM, some DB2.  20 years experience in open systems COBOL – Micro Focus, AcuCOBOL and CA-Realia, including open systems databases and open systems CICS.  5 years in XML, XSL and web services for COBOL applications.  15 years experience with legacy modernization projects moving applications to a standard IBM mainframe COBOL/CICS/DB2 environment or to a Micro Focus COBOL/SQL environment. Familiarity with Java, C, IDMS, Adabas, Datacomm/DB, IMS, TOTAL, TBAM, RUP, agile methodologies.

4+ years experience with BPM architecture, design and implementation.  Familiarity with IBM Filenet P8 and Tibco BPM products.