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Modernize your AS400 - the future proof, low cost solution.


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A business scenario for AS400 modernization for CIO, CFO and general management addressing how to modernize your AS/400 - using web services and business rules.

The presentation contains
(1) Smart, riskless, scenario how to add new functionality to an AS400.
(2) How to create solid integration with the AS400. Avoid overspending on (IBM) software.
(3) Easy-to-implement, fleixbele & open. Focus on business issues & achieving results in a controlled approach.

Published in: Technology, Business
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Modernize your AS400 - the future proof, low cost solution.

  1. 1. (1) Risk-free scenario to add new functions (2) How to establish solid integration (3)Easy-to-implement & open solution AS/400 modernization scenario Audience: CIO, CFO, general management Harmony Services for I
  2. 2. This presentation is copyright protected - you maydonwload and distribute. Modifications are not allowed . You may not use, reproduce, distribute, display or create derivative works of this presentation and/or of any single item in this presentation. Image of Tom copyright Fotalia. About this presentation • we use a business scenario o introducing Tom, a hard pressed CIO, and his challenges • we describe the solution: o Architecture o Products o demo (video, configuration) • we show how to implement o our recommendations o delivery in 2 weeks - production ready
  3. 3. • Case description • 3 modernization scenarios (slide 11 onwards) • The integration scenario (slide 19 onwards) • Proof-of-concept overview (slide 26 onwards) • How does this work ? (slide 37 onwards) • 2 week delivery – how ? (slide 42 onwards) • Useful links/info ( last slide) Contents
  4. 4. Tom is the CIO at ABC, a large corporation, and he is worried about the AS/400 supporting the logistics process (ERP) .... Meet Tom
  5. 5. • a "standard" AS/400 ERP package o in use since 1998 o 40% still "standard" o 60% custom developed using RPG o poorly documented • which runs on the IBM i platform o "5250" black/green screens • supported by in-house staff o that have lots of expertise o Hard to recruit professionals o There’s a need to fill-up positions considering the average age is 52 The logistics process is supported by:
  6. 6. Amsterdam, 14-03-2013 Tom, The board has approved our proposal to restructure our warehousing and purchasing process. Such in order to improve efficiency and lower our costs. Immediate action is required - our systems need to change! John Ranking, CEO ABC corporation order to restructure
  7. 7. • Implement one warehouse per country o current: multiple warehouses • More EU suppliers will be contracted • Increase supplier involvement in logistics chain o more insight into our orders + suppliers' purchasing expertise = efficiency !!! o outsource transport planning • Increase user & IT productivity o More workers output, in same time, at same costs! business requirements:
  8. 8. Tom conducts a "satisfaction survey", checking with the heads of the departments to check overall performance AS/400 satisfaction survey
  9. 9. • Performance • Stability • Core functionality • Business process support for the logistics flow • Quick turn-around time by IT department o fixes o minor functionality updates Users are satisfied with AS/400
  10. 10. • Outdated (5250) interface • [lack of] flexibility • management information o not timely / not up-to-date o no "self-service" possible • Turn around time is too low for: o major functionality updates o new applications, like:  customer self-service (web shop)  mobile app support for • suppliers, transporters and customers • Business Intelligence requirements User are dissatisfied with
  11. 11. A solution is needed Tom is aware he needs to act. What are the options open to Tom ?
  12. 12. Possible scenarios • I: new standard software package • II: plan new developments on AS/400 o RPG and web UI development • III: new development on other platform o Unix?  supported on IBM i [hardware] o open source?  limited investments o .NET ?  already used for Office Automation
  13. 13. I: New standard software package ? After some research it turns out that this is not a viable option. because ...
  14. 14. New package is no option • Hardly any AS/400 packages available • Non AS/400 package (like SAP) o high initial costs (investment) o additional development would be needed  current AS/400 ERP system: > 15 years of "fine-tuning" o disinvestment of AS400 ERP o training of staff o implementation & migration  takes a long time  is expensive
  15. 15. Tom thinks it is risky to consider developing new functionality on the AS/400 using RPG ... II: new developments on AS/400
  16. 16. • Increases "customization" ratio o ratio stands at 60% [custom developed] o would be even harder in future to migrate • Additional hardware is required o + software licensing costs up by > 15% • Performance o AS/400 tuning is labour intensive • Long term AS/400 outlook is bleak o AS/400 market is "shrinking"  less standard applications  less expertise available. risks and impact
  17. 17. Tom is not in favour of developing applications on other platforms like Linux or .NET. He worries about ... III: New development on ....
  18. 18. • Stability o is this the same as AS/400 ? • Connectivity o not easy to connect to AS/400 • Scalability and performance • Investment in hardware and software o + disinvestment of AS/400 • Re-training IT staff o development and systems support o (also considering the "age" factor) • Tom sees this as a "Big bang" scenario Unix, OpenSource or .NET platforms
  19. 19. Tom concludes that this is not the right time to outphase the AS/400. Overall conclusion He decides to develop new functionality on top of the AS/400 backend. Tom needs advice ...
  20. 20. The experts advice @Tom: smart decision [to retain AS/400] Implement a business services layer to create new business logic "on top of the AS400. A “state-of-the-art” user interface will replace 5250. We have the expertise,the experience and the solutions .... our advice ....
  21. 21. Tom’s dilemma A business services layer, sounds complicated! What about integration with the AS/400? Can you show me how this would look like?
  22. 22. I’m here to help you reduce ALL testing effort to max 40% We're here to help It'll take me max 2 weeks to implement integration with the AS/400. It'll take me max 2 weeks to implement the business logic
  23. 23. Business services (logic, rules) Presentation tier “standard” RPG / COBOL *pgm “Headless” (Open Access) Copy of *pgm Integration requires "headless" programs
  24. 24. business services / rules JavaScript for presentation "logic"/dialogs “standard” RPG / COBOL *pgm Webservices to access AS/400 dev framework Smart solutions require an architecture HTML(5): content/stucture CSS: structure/look and feel/layout Presentation tier
  25. 25. Harmony “standard” RPG / COBOL *pgm WAS400: Webservices Adapter AS/400 Isis (JAVA) / Sencha HTML5 / Java script / Sencha Our recommended solutions
  26. 26. The Proof-of-concept Impressive slides, but, given the business requirements (improve the purchasing process) , can you show me in a POC ?
  27. 27. The Proof-Of-Concept We have created a flowchart and "animation“ of your “new" purchasing process There's a lot of stuff ... Please (re)view with your IT experts We have analyzed the AS/400 sales and purchasing integration.
  28. 28. Your business users/experts can modify/maintain themselves - no need for (expensive) IT staff! This flowchart is available online to share/modify. Saves time & money! The overview of your purchasing process
  29. 29. Sales Order Entry “co”-existence old & new Harmony purchasing business rules WAS400 web services for AS/400 Modern UI -browser AND mobile Business logic & business rules -easy to maintain Web services 1 2 3
  30. 30. Sales Order EntryWAS400: monitors database & applies changes Business services layer (all Logic) The solution in action RPG program started; user enters data, order files + stock are updated0 0
  31. 31. Sales Order EntryWAS400: monitors database & applies changes HARMONY Business services layer (all Logic) The solution in action If WAS400 detects a database change it sends the change to Harmony1 1
  32. 32. Sales Order EntryWAS400: monitors database & applies changes HARMONY Business services layer (all Logic) Issue an PO? The solution in action Harmony receives the transaction – calculates stock level and issues a PO (Purchase Order) when stock level falls below threshold 2 2
  33. 33. Sales Order EntryWAS400: monitors database & applies changes Business services layer (all Logic) Issue an PO? PO > 10.000? The solution in action PO value more than 10,000 ? -> approval required 3 3
  34. 34. Sales Order EntryWAS400: monitors database & applies changes Business services layer (all Logic) Issue an PO? PO > 10.000? The solution in action Manually start “Receive goods” process 4
  35. 35. Sales Order EntryWAS400: monitors database & applies changes Business services layer (all Logic) all goods received? Issue an PO? PO > 10.000? The solution in action Check if PO quantity is “open” 5 5
  36. 36. Sales Order EntryWAS400: monitors database & applies changes Business services layer (all Logic) all goods received? Issue an PO? PO > 10.000? The solution in action Harmony submits goods received to WAS WAS400 sends data to AS 400 6 7 6 7
  37. 37. AS400 AND “NEW” PURCHASING Establish integration
  38. 38. Integration between sales & purchasing 1. Sales orders are created on AS/400 a. after order is created an RPG program checks to see if a purchase order has to be created (for a specific warehouse) 2. AS/400 purchasing =hard coded logic a. We'll move all logic to the business services layer
  39. 39. Integration between warehousing & purchasing 1. Goods received at a warehouse a. a RPG program checks all goods are delivered and updates stock on the AS/400 (for a specicific warehouse) 2. We'll move all logic to the business services layer a. and we'll create new application for goods reception
  40. 40. 1. WAS400, our AS/400 web services adapter a. monitors all sales order transactions b. generates web services 2. Harmony, for the business services layer, to control i. If a Purchase Order (PO) has to be raised ii. Approval when a PO exceeds a certain amount iii. To check if all goods are received 3. Goods reception, warehousing, application a. Standard process step. i. (browser and mobile version) b. WAS400 will update stock QTY in AS/400 DB. What is needed to solve this
  41. 41. DEMO ON YOUTUBE showing the real stuff .... 4 minutes of your time ….
  42. 42. Great stuff. POC well done! You understand our business and the solution promises to be very flexible. Please implement & train my staff.
  43. 43. Implementing the process Nikola: The best things about Harmony a. it's all based on spreadsheets b. powerful and easy c. scalable and fast ! • I have used the Flowchart (slide 28) to generate the new process [in Harmony] • I have modified this process: a. added products & supplier data i. (included the AS/400 key fields) b. implemented decision logic c. implemented orders "push" to spreadsheet d. added VAT adapter (for new foreign suppliers)
  44. 44. Configuring the AS/400 adapter • Installed and configured the monitoring of sales orders • Created AS/400 <-> Harmony mapping Using datamodel (and assisted by developers) a. AS/400 order details to "sales sensor" b. Goods received mapped to RPG program Paul: WAS400 best features a. All RPG functionality is exposed ! b. Simple and powerful mapping c. great performance / minimal overhead
  45. 45. Creating the test stories • I have used the Harmony configuration that Nikola created to configure initial tests a. Using AS/400 test data which was supplied by your users Minto: Automated testing = Testimony a. Testing becomes fun! b. Anyone can use it!
  46. 46. Wonderful job done! The results are impressive - delivering a working and tested solution in 2 weeks!
  47. 47. Closing @Tom, thank you for your compliments. If you or your staff need support - let us know - and we will collaborate online. We use Google DOCS - great for sharing ... saves time (& money)!
  48. 48. Purchasing implementation details Part Number of Total rows Rules 20 (50) - Dialogs (process steps) 10 (15) 60 Reference files 2 (4) 120 MDT none (1) DT 1 (4) 10 Expressions 5 (10) Templates 3 (5) Groups 5 (8) POC (full version + roll-out) 2 (4) (in brackets) is the estimate for a fully developed version POC = 2 weeks / fine tuning & roll-out another 2 weeks MDT = multi-dimensional decision table.
  49. 49. For more information • Visit • • Release overview – (all new features) • Business process flowchart • click here to view the Lucid Chart online • WAS400, Harmony and Testimony videos on YouTube • • WAS400: How to implement a business services layer on top of the AS/400 For RPG developers and system engineers • adapter-for-the-as400 • How to create your process with Harmony • Available soon • Creating and running tests with Testimony • Available soon • Architecture overview (cloud / private enterprise) • click here to view the Lucid Chart online