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Sometimes Looks are Important May 18, 2012

Posted by pgsdiver in IBM i, Modernisation, PHP, Technology, Zend.
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As a follow-up to my previous post about old-fashioned ideas sometimes being the best when it comes to corporate computing, I thought I’d balance things up with a few stories about what truly is new and exciting about what we’re doing.

One of our customers is a large automotive repair chain (Australia’s biggest with over 250 sites)… Now for years we’ve done what I (and they) think is a pretty good job of managing their high-availability application, Visions Solution’s iTera HA product. We keep them in touch with what we are doing on the software and hardware front, and over the past year something wonderful happened.

The IT Manager of their organisation contacted us about an article we ran in our newsletter about PHP and the Zend stack on the IBM i – for which we were the first certified partner in Australia. Now this fellow, Ian, had a particular need within his organisation to provide an incident management system to his workforce, and wanted something web-based, that could leverage the existing information the business had in its ERP system. Along came Team, with Zend, PHP and a growing open-source PHP CRM product called vTiger. Over the course of a few short months we had a working system running, completely web-based and running on their trusty IBM i.

I was initially a bit sceptical about our ability to provide the solution, and before we engaged I gave one of our developers a couple of days to do a prototype for me to see, and to show the client. I was stunned. The quality of the resultant solution was good, but just as important, it looked spectacular, and mirrored almost perfectly the initial design brief from the customer. The old dog (no, I’m not referring to our consultant – more the machine and me!) certainly learned a few new tricks that day, and it demonstrated to me just what you can do with the technology we have if you think just a little laterally about where to get your next application.

In the end, we’ve successfully deployed a fully web enabled application on the IBM i, the customer is overjoyed (and has written a case study for us – check out the Team Computing website news section), and during the process we managed to train up their internal staff to the point that they are now deploying their own rich application using the same stack.

Next step, mobile versions and even more functionality from what they’ve already built.

It’s exciting to watch this unfold, as I never thought we’d be in the business of web developers. Turns out, when you choose the right methods and tools, we are pretty modern and relevant to business, and can do some really catchy stuff.

Contact us if you want to know more, or want to discuss how you can easily and effectively modernise and expand the use of your current solutions.