Well, it’s been a while since my last blog. I’ve enjoyed some vacation, relaxing with friends and family while I recharge my batteries. I’ve also started the annual Fall Plan and traveled to talk with a few customers, so the blog had to take a back seat for a while. But I’m back with another post in the series on the process of modernizing applications on IBM i.
Today’s ISV that has done significant work to modernize and extend their solution is Bellamy Software (http://www.bellamysoftware.com/) which worked with looksoftware (http://www.looksoftware.com/) on significant tranformations.
Bellamy Software, a division of Sylogist Ltd., is a software solutions provider based out of Alberta, with solutions that have “streamlined business processes for municipalities, school districts and the private sector for over 30 years,” to quote their website.
My source this time is Derek Lutz, Director of Business Development - Public Sector, who was gracious enough to answer my questions.
Q: How are you bringing new customers to IBM i and Power Systems?
A: By hosting our application in the cloud and offering a SaaS solution. This brings down the cost for small and medium sized customers by removing the cost of architecture acquisition, maintenance and support. We have found that over 90 percent of our new customers are choosing our cloud solution. Our applications have always been deep, powerful, robust, comprehensive and integrated. The application functionality was fundamentally meeting the needs of their customers and when combined with cloud distribution and a modern, intuitive interface we find that new customers are very excited.
Q: Can you share some examples of customers doing new things with your solutions on IBM i?
A: We now set up most customers to receive their reports via email on the SaaS server thus reducing the amount of time we need to train users to work with output queues. We find the majority of our customers prefer this method as they can decide whether they need to physically print or they may simply save the PDF.
Q: Is modernization necessarily a long process? How much can be done in a short time?
A: We worked with our vendor to produce a working prototype in about three weeks. Of course delivering a production system took a bit longer but we have a development staff that is motivated and anxious to learn new technology and techniques. We use Newlook from looksoftware for our graphical needs. Newlook also supports our workflow and integration enhancements.
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: It’s easier to train new customers as many of them are already familiar with Web applications and not so much with text-based screens. Our cloud solution is fundamentally leveraging the application functionality that has been serving our customers well for many years. Modernization has allowed us to deliver this functionality in a manner that exceeds the very high expectations of end users today.
A: We leveraged IBM i servers because of their power to support a large volume of customers and end users. The scalability, reliability and security of IBM i makes it the perfect platform for cloud-based applications.
We leveraged IBM i servers with the power to support a large volume of customers and end users. The servers themselves are hosted in a third-party facility that ensures maximum performance, bandwidth and 24/7 reliability.
Q: If you could give one message to the IBM i community about the value of modernization, what would that be?
A: Modernization does not have to be daunting and IBM i can be a proud member of your modern IT infrastructure.
Wow. “The scalability, reliability and security of IBM i makes it the perfect platform for cloud based applications.” This is exactly what many of our ISVs are finding. While many people think of “modernization” as being purely about converting “green screen” to something else, ISVs like Bellamy really “get it.” They are taking on the world of commodity servers using less proven solutions by extending the value of their investment into the cloud. And they are succeeding. This is one of the messages I take with me all around the world as I explain the evolution of the IBM i platform, and its directions.
I want to thank Derek as well as Brendan Kay from looksoftware, who helped me connect to Derek. I am really enjoying the specific stories I hear as I do this series, and I hope you find value in them as well.