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Partner TechTip: You Want a Greener Approach to System i Reports and Printed Output

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Reduce your company's impact on the environment with ESEND report distribution.

 

Paper, paper everywhere! Managing the paper generated by the System i has always been a challenge. Typically, that task falls on the person responsible for manually collating and distributing report segments and other printed output. Over time, companies have tried different ways to route printed output—from creating a broader set of output queues to using processes that automatically fax reports. Some of these approaches still exist and even have their place in certain situations. Unfortunately, these types of solutions don't address the demands placed on IT departments today, including:

 

  • Sharing printed documents as PC files
  • Using email to route report segments
  • Integrating distribution mechanisms into application flow
  • Archiving report segments on the System i
  • Sharing printed output via a Web browser

 

ESEND takes care of all these needs in a single easy-to-manage, cost-effective solution, while reducing the amount of paper you generate.

Share Documents as PC Files

You can find many products that convert spooled files to different PC file formats. The bigger issue is whether the resulting file can solve the problem of sharing and distribution. Can you attach the file or insert it in the body of an email? Can you email or FTP multiple file attachments? ESEND can do all this, in addition to converting the file to popular PC formats such as TXT, PDF, HTML, RTF, and more.

Who Needs a Report?

Once you get beyond the basic need to convert spooled files to a PC format, you can see where ESEND sets itself apart—distribution. Other systems simply reroute spooled files to user output queues based on report content. ESEND can email files to other email accounts or even archive the files to folders in the IFS, based on rules. You define the rules on the System i using either the host-based interface or the client interface plug-in for System i Navigator. ESEND makes the rules as simple as "Send this page to recipient X if the following text appears" or as complex as "Send this page to user X based on a substitution variable defined in the report."

ESEND Is Integration-Ready

ESEND makes it easy to automate your file-sharing process. Because ESEND is host-based, you can use operating system commands to access its functions. Many ESEND users embed commands directly into their report programs to email files to the proper recipients or to FTP files to an external Web server. Rather than establishing output-queue forwarding rules, they execute commands, like ESNDFILE, at the end of their RPG, COBOL, or CL process.

Report Archiving

You don't need an expensive System i solution to archive reports to media. ESEND provides a reliable, inexpensive method for doing the same thing. As with email, you can save spooled files to the IFS. Using naming conventions based on the spooled file parameters, you can create files with unique name and number identities. Similarly, you can archive these files into your own hierarchy for storage. For example, you can create user profile folders, sales regions, or even dates. It's completely up to you and the rules you define for segmenting reports.

Share Output via the Web

When you combine ESEND with the SEQUEL Web Interface (SWI), you can create a Web-based portal to your reports, query definitions, and SEQUEL views on the System i (see Figure 1). The SEQUEL Web Interface is easy to set up and requires no Web application server beyond the built-in HTTP server in the System i. (Note: SWI is a separately licensed product.)

 

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Figure 1: Combine ESEND with the SEQUEL Web Interface to email, convert, and display spooled files from your browser. (Click image to enlarge.)

Summary

ESEND is an extremely flexible and robust tool for distributing report data—from ad hoc file sharing to rule-based bursting of reports to PC file conversion and storage in the IFS. Discover how you can use less paper, reduce costs, and have a positive impact on the environment. Try ESEND free for 30 days. You won't be disappointed.

as/400, os/400, iseries, system i, i5/os, ibm i, power systems, 6.1, 7.1, V7,

 

Floyd Del Muro

Floyd Del Muro is Sr. Consultant-Data Access Technologies for SEQUEL Software. He can be reached at 847.273.1046 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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