For this 6th edition of “The People Behind”, Charlotte met with Lars, a key-player in the SDC mainframe migration, the new sales representative of Raincode in Northern Europe and friend of our’s. Multiple profiles for this dynamic modernization specialist!

Charlotte: Hey Lars, can you introduce yourself to our readers?

Lars: So, I am Swedish, of course, living in Stockholm. I have four kids. I’ve been working in the IT industry for most of my life, actually. I spent 12 years with Intel Corporation, a couple of years working in my own company, and I’ve been with Microsoft for 17 years, I think.

What did you do at Microsoft?

I had several different roles within Microsoft, working first in the support & services org, as a technical account manager. I then managed the Technical Account Managers team in the Swedish subsidiary for two years. Moving on to the years, I managed the EPG (Enterprise Partner Group) Platform Modernization sales team in EMEA. I was working for the Corp EPG headquarters, but I stayed in Stockholm. We were a small and focused team that developed a strong partner community to help customers migrate from legacy platforms over to the Microsoft platform. That is also how I got in touch for the first time with Darius and Raincode, around 2010.

I believe it was during the SDC project, wasn’t it? Could you tell me more about it?

I got in contact is the senior manager at SDC. If I remember correctly, it was in 2009-2010. We started to work to find a solution to move off the legacy platform. SDC started that journey a little bit earlier. Their system was in PL/I. With a colleague from my team, I started to work on the solution. Obviously, we came to the conclusion that Darius and Raincode would be the right choice. So we worked on what the solution would look like and a lot on the risks mitigation. We did the “proof of concept and signed the contract with SDC, starting all the work.

But how did you hear about Raincode?

It is a personal connection. My colleague in Belgium, knew about Raincode and Darius, so he introduced me.

So you did not find a solution on the market so you asked who could do it?

Indeed, there weren’t any. We understood from the beginning that we would need to have a new development. It was more of a question of how expensive it would be. We could say it was a joint venture between Raincode, Microsoft, and SDC.

Could you tell me a bit more about the story of the project?

I think we started the discussions with Darius in 2011-ish. We should check with him to be sure. It must have been at spring time, 2011. From there, it went fairly quickly, from initiating discussions between myself and Darius and Robert Elgaard, at SDC, to provide a proof-of-concept, to develop the playground of the compiler. At first, it was about developing targeted tools to migrate the source code elements for SDC, but for obvious reasons, we looked at building a solution for a broader market as well. Although, we were focusing first on SDC’s technical and business problems with the compiler.

If I remember correctly, the work started in 2011 and had a pilot by late springtime 2011. From there on, it has been drops of improvements and adding code and solution to the Stack, over the next year and a half, I’d say. It is the length of a project to make sure that we can sell the solution. Taking that time was necessary to ensure the risk mitigation.

It has been a much smoother road than I first anticipated. I thought we would run into more problems than we actually did. Moreover, it is probably due to Raincode and its skills in compiler stuff.

One question, though: why did Microsoft, a huge company, trusted Raincode, a small company?

It was beyond the trust in companies, it was about the trust between people. The first time I met Darius, I think we probably “clicked” immediately. We also knew that the agility would be more important for this project than a big brand name. Also, Raincode had already a name on the migration market and strong competences on the .NET area and platforms. So yes, definitely, it was about speed, competences, mostly.

So what are your plans, now that you no longer work for Microsoft?

I am going to pick up my own company again, on the modernization market. I do Consultancy and Services for Cloud Solutions. Of course, it is going to include migration. I am looking for partners to work with, in the Nordic countries. I selected Raincode as my primary partner because I think it has the most interesting solution to leave the mainframe, partly for what’s already in place and partly for what is being developed, the assembler compiler.


Following the SDC project, Raincode received the Microsoft Technology award in Houston, in 2013.