Sometimes I miss green bar paper. It is such an iconic part of the early days of IBM computing. Green bar paper was everywhere in big boxes that lined the walls. Depending on the size of the company, there could be a whole room of green bar paper. The rolls of paper were a sign that the machines were operating and business was getting done.
Mostly, I don’t miss it.Green bar paper was cumbersome. It was not easily copied. It couldn’t be converted into Excel or PDF. Users would ask for font and formatting edits, never truly realizing the effort it took to program these small changes. Forget about emailing data, because the Internet was in its infancy and there was no software to make that happen. On the other hand, Marketing and Sales managers did not ask for detailed reports filled with many layers of data. This was before “Big Data” accumulation of granular information on prospects and existing customers who researched online.
Move forward to 2013 and there is software and tools no one could have dreamed of decades ago; software and tools that have become vital to managing the smooth flow of essential information that drives core business for companies.
Spool File Software
IBM Power Systems hold the critical applications and data needed to run core business. Spool File software gives IT Managers the ability to quickly and electronically convert and export the data into familiar “working ready” formats like Excel and PDFs. Bonus: It’s the right kind of “green” because you reduce printing and save paper. The ROI is potentially huge with savings on labor and materials.
Form and Report Software
Earlier this month in our blog we talked about the savings and efficiencies created by using Check software. This is true for virtually any forms that can be automated. Many clients now send a majority of invoices electronically. Form Software can do that and more to automate the creation and distribution of forms. Remember the walls of boxes of green bar paper I talked about earlier? Some of the boxes contained forms: forms that were pre-printed, expensive to print and mail, and completely wasted if something on them needed updating.
Report Software offers areas of your company like Sales and Finance the ability to quickly pull data from your IBM Power System, convert it into an easy-to-read report format, and deliver it electronically. Report software can provide true competitive advantage by providing the means to make decisions on current data, not week-old data.
Database Optimizing Software
Some reports require extracting information from multiple database files. Database optimizing software gives users the flexibility to specify records and fields, add calculations, and select the desired format such as PDF or Excel, all with no additional programming.
All these efficiency and workflow tools that are available today to create the smooth flow of business information – so what keeps some companies in the green bar paper era?
Expense? The ROI on well-designed and supported software can be realized in a matter of weeks or months. One of our clients is a global warehouse and logistics firm. They estimate they save hundreds of thousands of dollars a year with our software.
Programming Pride? Sometimes, IT engineers want to do their own programming. But the short-term savings in upfront cash can quickly dwindle down when you take in consideration the labor for making changes to your program, addressing updates to the Power system and applications, and training new people on your “custom” software.
Legacy? Occasionally, management may be considering phasing out their IBM Power Systems in the midst of persistent rumors that the line is dying out. The trouble is, that sentiment has been said for DECADES.
IBM Power Systems in all its versions from the AS/400 on still chugs along. But if you want your “legacy” equipment to do more than just chug along, give it a modern makeover with software that brings function, efficiency, and savings to maximizing output.