Learn how iSeries document scanning, capture, distribution and workflow can save money, increase document security, and improve organization efficiency. Learn more at www.informdecisions.com

Friday, August 11, 2017

Influx Of Younger Programmers And Application Modernization.

Many in the IBM i community are concerned for the future of IBM i.

While we read headlines about users leaving the platform, we may not be aware that the Windows platform is also in decline compared to the rapid growth of Linux.

So what?

With technology there is ALWAYS change.

But, Bob, you may say, isn’t that too simplistic?

You are right. It is too simplistic.

So let’s dig deeper - and focus on IBM i.

We Cannot Direct The Wind, But We Can Adjust The Sail

Fundamentally, IT solutions must fit and support the business. AND, businesses need to change and adapt to their unique and dynamic market.

All this means that IBM i users need to adapt their systems to fit the changing business needs.

Fresh Faces Join IBM i Community To Help Their Businesses Adapt

I have been reading several blogs written by IBM i thought leaders about how to keep IBM i relevant to the needs of business.

Steve Wills wrote in “Promoting IBM i - Fresh Faces” about the “youth movement” – younger people coming to the platform. He highlights 4 individuals - Stephanie Rabbani, Kody Robinson, Lynell Constantine and Liam Allan. These 4 are newly acquainted to IBM i and learned RPG on their own.

Each utilizes IBM i and shares how they contribute to helping their companies solve issues.


Dan Burger On Education And Enterprise Computing

Dan Burger is an IBM i independent consultant and trainer.

Dan makes several important observations about the disconnect between what colleges turnout for programmers and what businesses really need.

What caught my eye is, “Companies need people who understand business. It’s easier to teach an accountant programming than it is to teach a programmer accounting.

For me, Dan stresses the significances that IT folks need to understand business, not just technology. The technology is to support THE BUSINESS..

Also, one CAN learn RPG. So people who understand the business can learn RPG.

And, if they already know how to program, they can also LEARN RPG. (This is also consistent with what Steve Wills points out in Fresh Faces above.)

The key ingredient?

Understand business first.

Then programming.


Eamon Musallam: Insights on i

Eamon Musallam works for Fresche Solutions. He is an IBM i application modernization expert.

He makes several profound observations:

1) It is way less expensive to modernize IBM i applications than to replace them.
2) Redesigning the database can simplify Oracle or Microsoft integration with DB2 for i database.
3) How long can it take to leave the IBM i platform? 10-15 years – realistically. [My opinion: applications modernization can ease the passage. In fact, with proper modernization, as a company adapts their applications to their needs, they may be able to stay on IBM i and save money by NOT leaving.]


I believe IBM i will continue and evolve as it has since 1988.

The platform is advanced, reliable and productive (needs fewer people to manage than other platforms and much easier to generate business reports).

AND, all businesses are faced with challenges for adapting to market demands, competition and technology.

Let us be clear that we need to:

1. Attract new talent,
2. Look for talent that understands business,
3. Invest in training to facilitate the technological changes needed for the business, and
4. Have realistic time frames to deal with the needed changes (years instead of weeks or months, with the notion that you can “rip and replace” to fix a problem that may be more complex).

Source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/does-ibm-i-have-future-you-bet-part-3-bob-losey
Website: www.informdecisions.com

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

inFORM’s Green Manifesto outlines our commitment to protect the environment and go green.

#1: Pitch the Plastic

We eliminated the plastic items including  water bottles, knives and forks, containers, disposable drinking glasses, and coffee stirrers.

#2: Telecommute

We  telecommuted and kept a small office available for occasional meetings.

#3: Choose environmental organizations

We listed environmental organizations to support that help to protect our planet. However, we gave priority for organizations focusing on saving trees because  inFORM Decisions is involved in technologies that decrease pressure on forests.

#4: Cut the power

We kept all those electronic wait states that silently suck power turned off.

#5: Go with green guys

We worked with vendors who are aware of going green.

#6: Change thinking, change habits

Changing our thinking and our habits is the most challenging aspect of going green. We continually look for new opportunities to help preserve scarce or threatened animal,  plant and mineral resources.

#7: Resonate  going paperless

Going green changes to our messages, presentations, white papers, and general outreach to the IT community costs money. Thus,  we're hoping this valuable message preaches with our present and future clientele.

#8: Green the IT

Older PCs and monitors in our server room and our aging analog phone system and hardware  were replaced to reduce our electric bills.

About us

We are professionals at inFORM Decisions (IFD) who  made the decision to go with virtual office. The first thing we did was draw up a Green Manifesto. Let’s discover it by reading the following commitments. 

Source: informdecisions.com

Monday, June 26, 2017

Modern form processing can handle different types of forms and is not restricted to pre-printed documents that are generated electronically. The new software technology allows hand written forms to be processed accurately; even those completed using cursive hand writing. As well as the non cursive version of hand writing commonly used with block capital completed forms, such as questionnaires. 

OCR, ICR, IWR and ORM are often used in forms processing software to deal with hand printed text, scanned images, machine printed text recognition and human made marks.

OCR - Optical Character Recognition, does the task of transferring scanned images that includes words into machine-editable text. Moreover, it can be used in searching or extracting data.

ICR - is the abbreviation of Intelligent Character Recognition, a technology that helps transfer hand printed text from an image into to machine text. It is the combination of different algorithms to do a complicated task.

IWR - Intelligent Word Recognition is the recognition of unconstrained handwritten words. IWR recognises entire handwritten words and phrases instead of the older character-by-character process, Optical Character Recognition (OCR). IWR technology matches handwritten or printed words to a user-defined dictionary, significantly reducing character errors encountered in typical character-based recognition engines.

OMR - also known as Optical Mark Recognition is the scanning of paper to detect the presence or absence of a mark in a predetermined position. This can be used in decoding a scanned page. 

Modern Document scanners are based on the need for fast and efficient volume processing of documents. These scanners have evolved from flatbed units that would process one page at a time into high volume document processing systems.

With iCapture, scanning documents and capturing key information using the advanced technology described above is all automated. You just take the stack of paper, and place it in the feeder of your copier or desktop scanner, and we split, extract and route, all automatically. Our document capture provides efficiency, standardization and simple integration, leaving you more time for your real job, and taking away the pain of scanning. iCapture is a single capture platform designed to meet all the needs of an organization, including document scanning and import, forms processing, data capture, OCR/ICR data extraction and the ability to migrate the information into a document repository.

Key Benefits of iCapture:
· Create efficiency and improve productivity
· Automate any document scanning process
· Everything is searchable
· Create a paperless office
· Eliminate manual process
· Integration with Copiers and Scanners
· Seamlessly migrate searchable PDFs to more than 60 ECM systems
· Standardized to ensure a repeatable scanning and capture process across multiple devices

See more at www.informdecisions.com

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A brief overview of DMS.

DMS is simply defined as the use of a computer system and software to store, manage and track electronic documents and electronic images of paper based information captured through the use of a scanner. Its integral devices can be listed as:
•       The input point.
•       The repository.
•       The retrieval point.

The input point: The application your documents come through to get inside a document management system.  DMS stores electronic versions of data so your documents must be converted into search-able forms such as PDF or be scanned. If these entering documents are already in electronic forms, then usually, DMS inserts them into monitored single or multiple folders.

Then, according to your specific needs, these documents then can be separated, put in groups, identified, catalogued and labeled. A scanning solution such as inFORM Decisions’ iCapture will facilitate this task:
-   Checking and controlling the folders of the documents (if contained)
-   Allowing PDF transferring process
-   Importing data from OCR, ICR, or OMR
-   Creating metadata
-   Moving your data into next stage of DMS

The repository, as you may guess, plays a roll as storing the data. Different types of data may require different types of storing sources. Normally, different document types are stored in separate folders for  security.  A backup plan for your data by creating an off-line storage is essential.

How can you retrieve your data? Proprietary systems? Open source solutions? These are both included along with your repository. Depending from your demand, you can choose from options ranging from  Microsoft  365,  SharePoint, or the very secure IBM i using iView from  inFORM Decisions.

For further information, please visit http://www.informdecisions.com and send us your questions.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Quickly take your plain text spool files and transform them into modern, colored, graphic custom branded documents in user-friendly formats like PDF, or export valuable data to excel spreadsheets, automatically distributing them via email, and make them accessible to users anytime via a secure web-based portal.

There are still many organizations throughout the world where vast amounts of reports are produced, printed and manually distributed to the intended recipient. With IFD’s iPDF solution you can automatically generate reports to PDF files and distribute them electronically or publish them in the cloud.  The PDF format is far richer than the generic usage reflects, and you can do far more with a PDF than archiving it electronically or sending it in an email.

Much more than just spool file conversion. iPDF provides easy to use flexible functionality to enhance the converted output. In addition to producing forms and reports, it also enables the originator to password protect and encrypt the outputted PDF files, as well as adding restrictions to the PDF and including digital signatures to authenticate the report and show it has not been tampered with.  In addition to creating a secure and targeted PDF file from the iSeries data, iPDF allows you to make your PDF report interactive, with fully searchable pages. This ensures that the report is even more user/reader friendly and allows the recipient to quickly locate and retrieve the information which is most important to them.

inFORM Decisions  has been serving the IBM i family of computers since 1994. iPDF and our products can provide you with the versatility that never existed with computer generated paper forms. Our products provide the perfect solution to accomplish your paperless office imitative. 

Contact inFORM Decisions at (949) 709-5838 or (800) 858-5544 for a demonstration or trial software and experience the difference.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

In my experience, when faced with such critical choices, the decision triangle of most managers can be boiled down to these three parts:
·       Does it make sense for our business process and needs?
·       Does it invite risk and additional problems?
·       How will the end users like the experience? 
Let’s look at how the strengths of the IBM i platform apply to this triangle and come together to deliver a platform that makes sense.

Business Sense:
Typically when people ask me to describe the IBM i, I usually start off by telling them that this is a alpha/numeric crunching machine that can handle a barrage of work without breaking a sweat.  More often than not, this introduction is met with a visceral response pertaining to the green screen and its outdated look.  Fortunately, I can easily address this concern by pointing out a great benefit - users find the field experience on green screens to be faster than mouse driven operations.  Just in case the green screen is still not the mode of choice, the IBM i also offers modern U.I. options such as RPG Open Access API and REST interface for Web services.  Additionally, value added vendors offer numerous ways to customize the U.I. experience based on what is best for an individual organization.

Now that curiosity has been piqued, the focus of my description turns to the capacity of the system as one server able to perform the jobs of several servers- leveraging the one platform to run a blend of multiple server service from proprietary to open source.  The IBM i platform is proprietary; however, you can run open source software on the platform in addition to value added proprietary vendor software.  You have the resources to run Java, MySQL, Apache Web server, SMTP and more.  Feedback has shown me that this gives companies a huge operational advantage.  Instead of the back-and-forth process of handing off operational functions to different devices, many of these operations can be kept within the platform. Imagine more efficiency, improved reliability, and smoother management. This concept brings a smile to my face.

At this point, excitement is beginning to brew, but, then the thought of cost surfaces, demanding attention. At first glance, the initial capitalization of owning an IBM i system will appear to be significantly more expensive than other systems.  This is not a deal breaker; once you start to look at the hard cost associated between an IBM i system and other systems like X86 systems and Linux, the ownership cost comparison tilts in favor of the IBM i solution.  Beyond IBM's RISC hardware being more powerful and reliable than equivalent X86 server, IBM's automated approach to handling administrator functions brings the ownership cost down.  Specifically, to run an IBM i, the personnel cost is constructively lessened.

Security Sense:
Just the mention of the phrase “security breach” makes our blood pressure skyrocket and our brows furrow in anxiety. The money and time spent on keeping your organization safe from attacks, data leaks, and general digital mayhem can be overwhelming. Relax the worry lines and breathe easier; the IBM i is resistant to hacking and viruses.  Improve your organization's defenses in the wild digital west.  The IBM i role based security is among the most advanced of all business systems.  When configured correctly, unauthorized users and applications don't have a way to access your data.  Additionally, the object based nature of the IBM i system prevents any one part of code from being executed unless it's known.  These two features help keep your organization safe and sound.

End User Sense or Happy Users equals Productive Users:
Most IT managers using the IBM i concur that end users like working with the user interfaces and field based menu interfaces for two reasons.  Once users begin utilizing menu options to move from field to field, muscle memory takes over - getting work done is faster than reaching for a mouse.  Additionally, users like the speed made available to them when operating within the IBM i user interface environment.  Once they are in, users experience quick screen refresh and execution of their work.  A happy user equals plus a productive user equals an important contributor to the success of the organization.

So, here is a system that can handle a significant amount of workload, provides users a faster interface experience, assuages security uncertainties and is concordant with the budget.   Makes sense to me, how about you?

inFORM Decisions has been an IBM i (iSeries, AS/400, i5, Power Systems) native, Document Management and Workflow software development company since 1994.  Our business partners and customers are worldwide and lend testimony to the state of the art, stability of IFD solutions.

Call (800) 858-5544 / (949) 709-5838 or visit us at www.informdecisions.com for more information about our acclaimed iDocs suite of IBM i products.

Modern documents go beyond looking good; they have a purpose and offer significant benefits for you and your recipients.  Every time your organization distributes spool file data without graphics, design, and color, your organization misses an opportunity to broadcast its marketing and operational messages.   The impact that your organization's documents have with customers and vendors contributes to the bottom line of your organization's success. 

Take advantage of inFORM Decisions' iDocs suite to:
·   Convert unstructured spool file data into organized documents with color branding and formatting that you can readily use and your recipients can easily identify.
·       Improve dynamic distribution of your documents in print and electronic versions.
·       Reduce the burden of design-to-production by using our GUI tools.
·       Leverage electronic archiving of documents for easy retrieval.

Find out more by visiting www.informdecisions.com or call us at 800-858-5544
Design by Ly Dinh Themes - Cân điện tử | Blogger Theme by iSeries IBM i