IBM i shops often waste expensive and scarce programming talent recreating commercially available software for common functions like reporting and paperless processing, rather than buying professionally designed software and configuring it to meet their needs.
This tendency poses a simple question for IBM i shops:
Are your programmers in the right business (creating organization-specific apps) or are they creating and maintaining DIY solutions for software that you can easily buy off the shelf?
If you answered DIY solutions, I’d wager you’re using an outdated software model and you can save time, money, and programming resources by using a reasonably priced third-party package instead.
Three Easy Pieces of ROI
Listed below are three common functions that are frequently handled by DIY solutions created by application developers.
- Database Query/Report writing software that allows users to create their own query reports without programming support.
- Paperless reporting (report automation) software that converts IBM i spooled file reports to common universal file formats such as PDF or Excel, delivers those files to users or application servers, and archives converted files to a file server.
- Document management software that allows shops to easily create electronic forms such as invoices and purchase orders. These forms are then merged with IBM i data, delivered to your customers, and archived on your system.
Many shops don’t buy third party reporting and paperless processing packages because they lack the budget or need capital approval to purchase. The real truth is that some shops are already spending the purchase price and yearly maintenance costs (and more) of an equivalent third-party software package in programming and support, when they substitute DIY solutions for commercially available software that performs the same functions. Instead of incurring a capital expense, the true cost hides in their IT applications operating budget.
Creating DIY solutions for reasonably priced and professionally developed software is like running your own gas station when all you need are regular fill-ups. It provides the fuel you need. A number of vendors including DRV Tech offer reasonably priced packages for common functions like reporting and paperless processing.
These packages more than offset the capital cost with ROI savings and a reduction of programming resources needed for DIY solutions. Here are some ROI considerations that can be used to help justify buying any of these reporting or paperless processing packages, freeing up valuable programmer time to work on more significant business-related apps.
- Database query/report writing software can be cost justified by moving the cost of creating special reports or queries away from your expensive programming staff and over to a less expensive administrator, department specialist, or end-user resource.
- Paperless reporting software can be cost justified from a number of different areas including programming costs. ROI savings include programming, paper, printing, faxing, and storage & retrieval costs. See this article on creating a Report Automation ROI for more information on how to justify the cost of this purchase.
- Document management software can also be cost-justified with programming savings, as well as savings on paper, printing, faxing, & postage costs. See this article for more information on how to create an ROI for Electronic Forms software.
Besides freeing up programmer time to work on projects that better benefit the organizational mission, professionally designed software provides three other valuable benefits in cutting down on program maintenance, providing ready-to-go software and making it easier to deploy on schedule.
What Business are Your Programmers In?
As I said before, it comes down to whether your programmers are in the right business, which is creating custom applications specifically designed to make your organization more profitable. If they’re distracted by creating, updating, and maintaining DIY software for common functions such as reporting and paperless processing, it’s time to evaluate whether you should invest in a third-party package that will perform those functions more efficiently and profitably.
Feel free to call us at DRV Tech if you want to discuss options for improving productivity through reduced DIY programming for reporting and paperless processing. You can also view DRV Tech’s innovative line of reliable, high-quality, and affordable report writing, paperless reporting, and document management software by clicking here. And be sure to check out the helpful articles I’ve linked to below that provide more information on this topic.