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A Cooperative Effort

Control Systems Software and LANSA team up to modernize a core application

Control Systems Software and LANSA team up to modernize a core application
Terry Osburn, development manager (left), and Carol Stewart, CEO, say CSS’s new software solution adds drill-down capabilities and a much-needed GUI.

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Customer: Control Systems Software, LLC
Headquarters: Urbandale, Iowa
Business: Software developer for agribusinesses
Challenge: Moving from a green-screen interface to a graphical interface and improving application functionality
Solution: Using LANSA’s RAMP application-development solution to create a simple point-and-click user environment that maintained underlying logic and allowed for application enhancements
Hardware: An IBM Power 550 Express running IBM i
Software: RAMP from LANSA

Many accounting packages do all sorts of tasks, but they’re often very generic. As a result, you might use only a fraction of what they’re capable of. And if you want to customize them to your business—your specific requirements—you may have to hire someone to do it for you or spend a considerable amount of internal resources to make it fit,” says Kevin Jostes, controller with agribusiness-related Stratton Equity Cooperative Company.

His remarks aren’t rare. Many companies, especially small to mid-sized ones, modify their operations to conform to their software. For some, this can be beneficial, driving change where it’s needed. For others, it can be a detriment, forcing unwanted change.

That’s why organizations such as Stratton have turned to solution providers that meet their exact—and exacting—needs. For Stratton and many other agriculture-related businesses, that “vendor” turns out to be the agribusiness-only Control Systems Software, LLC (CSS). Unlike the usual solution provider, CSS is owned by its user members. Thanks to this relationship, users have a great deal of input into how CSS’s agribusiness financial application, CONTROL, functions.

Recently, this included a complete overhaul to the software’s user interface and some key changes to its underlying architecture. “Our owners call or e-mail us to let us know their must haves, wants, needs, whatever. In this case, there were many requests for an updated, graphical interface,” says Carol Stewart, CSS CEO.

Thanks to this input, CSS began looking for a solution that would provide that and more, finally deciding RAMP from LANSA would be the best tool to support this development effort. Now, CSS’s owners have an application that not only fits their agribusiness model, but also has the modern look, feel and functionality of prepackaged financial applications.

“We have all of this new functionality that’s grouped together in a very logical manner.” —Kevin Jostes, controller, Stratton Equity Cooperative Company.

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



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A Cooperative Effort

Control Systems Software and LANSA team up to modernize a core application

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