You are currently on IBM Systems Media’s archival website. Click here to view our new website.

IBM i > CASE STUDIES > RETAIL

A Reason to Celebrate

Phantom Fireworks teams IBM System i hardware with a BI solution and ERP software to launch reports.

Phantom Fireworks teams IBM System i hardware with a BI solution and ERP software to launch reports.

As part of that epic undertaking, Koocher attended a VAI user meeting. There, he learned more about VAI and heard from customers who were more than pleased with the ERP package. Although he hadn't dealt with VAI before, he came away from the conference with valuable knowledge he could now share with Phantom and its management. More significantly, however, he also ran into vendors who were showing off their wares at the user meeting.

One of them happened to be NGS. "I'd worked with the query on the [System i platform] for years, and I'd always had a list of things I wished it could do," Koocher remarks. "NGS-IQ does them all. It made writing reports and interactive queries much easier to perform, and I can import data into Excel. The latest version of VAI offers this, but we haven't updated, so NGS-IQ fills that gap."

And Koocher wasted no time leveraging this capability. He quickly wrote a bunch of reports and ported them to Excel spreadsheets. He then e-mailed them to several locations so users could look at sales by customer, product, etc. Although users can write their own reports, Koocher often finds it easier to do it for them, pulling, for example, "the order file and the customer file into an Excel spreadsheet, and then sending one version to California, another to Connecticut, one to Florida and one to the retail stores," he says. "In 30 minutes, I had what would have taken several days without the program. I've never found it so easy to get information from the System i hardware into an Excel spreadsheet without having to create a comma-separated file."

For those interested in creating their own reports, Koocher will sit down with them to teach them how to use the NGS software. "I've been able to train people who swore they couldn't do any programming, and I showed them the errors of their ways," he says.

Significantly, these Excel files can be automatically refreshed. As a result, when an executive comes into the office in the morning, he or she can click on the file, and it will be updated on the fly. By utilizing another NGS product, SmartView, users can then drill down through the data as needed or simply use the provided information, which might come from a point of sale, wholesale orders or warehouse shipments, to help them make decisions. "These people are getting their reports every morning - or whenever else they need them - and they're not calling me screaming about it," Koocher jokes. This simplicity is further bolstered by the ability of NGS-IQ report writers to tailor and secure the reports depending on user need and access.

Koocher can also use the application to create PDFs of requested data, something he's doing in response to user requests. "VAI reports are designed to be printed on letter- or legal-sized paper, and contain a lot of detail," Koocher says. "By creating PDFs of the same reports, users can now use the magnifying tool to zoom in on portions of the text, making them much more readable."

Jim Utsler, IBM Systems Magazine senior writer, has been covering the technology field for more than a decade. Jim can be reached at jjutsler@provide.net.



Advertisement

Advertisement

2019 Solutions Edition

A Comprehensive Online Buyer's Guide to Solutions, Services and Education.

A Reason to Celebrate

Phantom Fireworks teams IBM System i hardware with a BI solution and ERP software to launch reports.

A Valuable Resource

Motta Internacional uses ACOM products to decrease paper use and save trees

IBM Systems Magazine Subscribe Box Read Now Link Subscribe Now Link iPad App Google Play Store
IBMi News Sign Up Today! Past News Letters