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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  More often than not, this introduction is met with a visceral response pertaining to the green screen and its outdated look.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.


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