Investing in your assets, improving customer satisfaction, staying competitive, planning for growth – these are just a few reasons why an organization decides that the status quo is not aligned with its business objectives. In the IT world, companies spend money on hardware, software, education, services – all so they can do something different, something better, than what they’ve done before.
In the IBM i market, many of these efforts center around modernization, which is why investing to bring new technology to bear on existing software has been a frequent topic in this blog, in Tim Rowe’s blog, and in our recent Redbooks publication. And, in that same market, there are ISVs out there who are working to help others modernize.
This blog is the first in a series in which I have asked some of those ISVs to get me in touch with their customers. Why? Because I think hearing the stories of those who invested and saw value will help others understand what’s possible and feel comfortable following in the footsteps of those who have been successful.
Today’s blog started with me asking the people at Profound Logic (www.profoundlogic.com) if they would connect me with one of their many customers – in particular, I hope to reach one of the ISVs who used the Profound Logic technology to modernize their own solution. I received an immediate and enthusiastic reaction, and very soon they had passed my request on to TMW Systems.
TMW Systems (www.tmwsystems.com) provides solutions in the transportation industry. I asked them a few questions about the updates they have made to their solutions. They have a great story to tell, so I will let them tell it.
Q: Can you share some examples of customers doing new things with your solutions on IBM i?
A: The Innovative product line of TMW Systems is now providing a path to a modernized user interface using Profound UI. This provides our customers with the functionality of a point-and-click browser interface for their younger users who might not be accustomed to a green-screen interface. It also enables access to their Innovative software system through smartphones and tablets for all of our Web Edition customers.
Q: Your product solves business problems for a specific industry or customer set. How does the modernization work you’ve done help satisfy those customers?
A: Our new interface features tools such as drag-and-drop options for dispatch systems and the ability to provide useful visualization with charts and interactive mapping for resource planning and asset allocation. We are also particularly pleased that the new interface with Profound is more similar in look and feel to our other TMW product lines because many of our customers make use of more than one TMW product.
Q: Investment protection lies at the core of modernization efforts. How much of (your, a customer’s, an ISV’s) solution remains in tact, protecting that investment, after modernizing?
A: With the addition of Profound UI, our IBM i customers can continue with their current equipment and platform, benefiting from the stellar reliability, data integrity, affordable operating cost and ease of customization in our product. For our customers making the decision to go forward with these systems, employee satisfaction and retention are important factors in the equation. Their users can now enjoy a browser interface with familiar point-and-click operation that also presents their data in a format they may find more appealing and less intimidating.
Q: Is modernization necessarily a long process? How much can be done in a short time?
A: Modernization does not have to be a long process at all using the Profound UI product. The time and effort will depend on the size of the application. If you plan ahead to determine the desired theme, the conversion from DDS to Rich UI can be accomplished very quickly with minimal tweaking.
Q: In your customer set, is modernization more about getting to mobile device support, creating browser-based interfaces, getting to graphical client-based UI or something else?
A: Many of our customers want a solution that will work with their current equipment. By providing a browser-based solution, our customers gained the potential for universal access to our application from a variety of devices. Providing mobile access also helps to broaden the user base that can benefit from the software.
In summary, it’s clear there are ISVs out there reinvigorating their solutions using the latest in modernization technology on IBM i. I really appreciate the help I got from Profound Logic in getting the story from TMW Systems, and I want to specifically thank Matt Mullins, Director of Development at TMW, for providing me the answers.
I have asked similar questions of others who are using other modernization technology, so stay tuned for their viewpoints in future posts.