> From: Nathan M. Andelin
> You pointed out that when the underlying business process is flawed, the
> addition of a Web or GUI component won't solve it.  On the other hand, it
> seems that a process that's already sound doesn't benefit much from a 5250
> to GUI conversion.   It makes me wonder how Jacada earns their millions.
> Marketing to the intense pressure that ISVs are under to supply a GUI?  Or
> by offering solutions with real value?

For many clients, the issue seems to be an evolutionary one.  Here's one
example.  It doesn't reflect any particular company, but instead an amalgam
of issues:

Company A starts out with a perfectly acceptable green screen system, driven
by either telephone contact or by data entry from paper forms.  Up until
this point, the fact that they are on the AS/400 works in their favor,
especially since Company B, their primary competitor, is on a less robust
and capable platform.

Company B puts up a web site, little more than a set of static pages with a
"contact us" page.  Company A begins to build a web presence in response.
At this point, the battle begins to heat up.  They match presence for
presence, putting up all the neat things that you can do with static
content.  Eventually, however, their users demand that they begin exposing
one or more of their business processes.  For Company B, they may be running
on Unix or Microsoft and some sort of SQL database.  For them, it is
relatively easy to put up an appealing, though not particularly powerful,
web application, with all kinds of nice inquiries and even a little bit of
data entry, such as a storefront.

Company A is now in a bind.  In order to keep up with the competition, they
need to web-enable their order entry process.  However, since they are on
the AS/400, they have one of two basic options: develop a non-AS/400
solution and integrate it, or put a screen scraper on the front of their
existing order entry system.  Neither solution is particularly elegant, and
either way they are committing a large amount of resources to a process
which doesn't actually improve their core business systems.

This is where an approach like PSC400 comes in.  By web enabling one or more
of their applications, they can quickly provide a counter to Company B.
Because they are exposing their actual AS/400 application, chances are that
it has far more features and capabilities than any simple SQL-based
storefront, including those unique business practices which their customers
have already come to value.  At the same time, by using a UI-isolating
technique such as JavaServer Pages, they can quickly take advantage of the
style sheets and logos that they have already implemented in their existing
web presence.

It's this coordination of the powerful, time-tested AS/400-based
applications with their already existing web presence that makes the
5250-to-GUI translation so appealing.

Joe Pluta

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