Case Study: Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

Case Studies
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

The promise of the "paperless office" is still a long way off. As the cost of imaging goes down, we will be able to reduce our inter-office dependence on paper considerably. But what about all of the business documents we generate destined for other companies - things like invoices, purchase orders and shipping manifests? The solution is Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). Put simply, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is a standardized way to represent common business documents in data files. These documents can then be exchanged between many types of businesses, computers, and locations.

On the surface, EDI looks a lot like E-MAIL. It can use a "value added network," which is a third party service providing store and forward capabilities and error-checking of EDI documents. However, EDI has advantages over conventional unformatted E-MAIL and proprietary "hard-wired" communications between companies. In EDI, business documents are defined by grouping standardized and numbered data elements or "fields", into code-named segments or "records". These segments are grouped together logically to form transaction sets that represent the various business documents.

The standards adopted depend on the type of business you are in, but among the most widely used is the American National Standard Institute's Accredited Standards Committee X12 D (ANSI ASC X12). These standards are available under several version numbers, and are extensive enough to handle all but the most unusual business documents.

Why EDI?

By integrating EDI documents into existing application systems, the need for mailing, performing data entry, and manual error correction from hard copies can be all but eliminated. By decreasing the time it takes to transfer information, companies can plan production more efficiently, carry lower inventory "safety stock" levels, and monitor cash flow more closely.

Our Experience

About a year ago, our company - a manufacturer of industrial, upholstery, and apparel fabrics - was presented with the task of informing our largest customer of daily shipment details via EDI. This was no small undertaking, considering that our DP department consists of an operator and a "technical manager" - me. Our company has what I consider to be a small-to-medium-sized user base (17 terminals, four of which are PCs attached via IBM emulation cards), and a System/36 model D24 with no communications.

I was dimly aware of EDI concepts from reading a few small articles in the trade magazines. "Paperless office" and "emerging trend" were the terms used most often, but that was all I knew. Therefore, the EDI project had a good measure of F.U.D. (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) potential for me - a mere seven-year RPG programmer/analyst with a smattering of PC experience.

However, this was our largest customer. If I ignored the project, I could have put undue strain on a long-standing relationship. If I acted quickly, my company could achieve the benefits of:

o Being the first supplier in our class to implement EDI with this customer, showing our commitment to customer service.

o Possibly receiving EDI production schedules from our customer, to be used to aid our own production planning.

o Gaining valuable experience in EDI so we could expand the program to other documents or to more customers if the need arose.

Upper management gave the go-ahead, and I began to research the project immediately. But where to start? I will now relate how I began this journey, treading on unfamiliar ground. I realize no one method will suit everyone in every situation, but I believe these are good guidelines.

Start With the Customer

I contacted our customer and was referred to the project leader for EDI. This phone call was the most valuable contact I made during the entire project. The project leader's company has a strong commitment to EDI, and an extensive, experienced staff. (Companies with large EDI systems in place are now being called hubs.) He outlined the way the system would work, what documentation I would need, and mentioned several vendors for "translator software" (more on that later). He also told me how to contact the value added network used by his company. Without this kind of support, I doubt the project would have succeeded.

My point to newcomers is this: establish a good working relationship with a person who has experience in this field! If you don't, you may find yourself awash in unfamiliar terms, or frustrated by a lack of information. At worst, you may look for a way to shelve the entire project out of F.U.D.

Determine the Costs

Management instructed me to keep the cost of the project as low as possible, so I made the following decisions:

o Communicate thru the PC.

Our company has only one location, and is not likely to expand beyond one location for the next several years, so communications for the S/36 were not necessary for day-to-day operations. Since the volume of EDI documents per customer would be small (one to six shipments per day), the relatively high cost of S/36 communication was prohibitive. Fortunately I had experience with PC Support/36 and async communications from the PC.

o Perform necessary programming in-house.

Hiring a consultant would have been cost- and time-prohibitive because our customer service system was written in-house. I was confident that I could handle the programming in the time it took for someone who was unfamiliar with our code to flow-chart the system. Note: if you have a packaged application system that must interface with EDI, doing the programming yourself may not be an option.

o Select a network.

We chose to use the same value added network (General Electric Information Services) as our customer was using, for reasons of reputation, familiarity and competitive cost: approximately $100.00 per month.

o Purchase "Translator" software.

This was the tricky part. I was a little confused about the purpose of an EDI "Translator" package. Then I received the ANSI X12 EDI standards manuals and began to decipher the structure of an EDI document. It reminded of the time I first saw an RPG II program after spending a year writing COBOL programs in college. About all that I managed to learn from my first encounter with the manuals was the EDI document number and name - SET 856 "Ship Notice/Manifest."

So I assumed a translator had something to do with taking my shipping data and converting it to EDI. Beyond that, I had no idea. Based on word-of-mouth and advertisements in several trade publications, I decided to purchase a PC-based package at a cost of $2000. This was a hard decision to make, because I had never before purchased software without having a clear-cut idea of its purpose. Time constraints prevented me from evaluating any software on a trial basis.

Dig In

Upon receiving the software and scanning the documentation, it became apparent that an EDI translator performs no "magic" conversion of data. It is not a substitute for actually understanding the structure of an EDI document. This is a mixed blessing.

The way I finally understood the purpose of the translator was to think of it as a kind of "compiler." You are given a "flat file" layout for the transaction set you wish to generate. This is the file that the S/36-based shipping application would have to create and add records to throughout the day. The way records are formatted and grouped in this file is essentially the same as the way they will appear in the finished EDI document.

1 shows part of an EDI advance shipment notice, and a line-by-line explanation of the content and structure. (Note that line numbers are NOT part of the file, and that EDI envelope segments are not included because the translator package handles this function.)

Figure 1 shows part of an EDI advance shipment notice, and a line-by-line explanation of the content and structure. (Note that line numbers are NOT part of the file, and that EDI envelope segments are not included because the translator package handles this function.)

More than one contiguous * indicates data elements that can be, but are not used in the segment.

Valid qualifer codes and data elements are defined in the standards manuals.

EDI File Explanation

1. The "Interchange Start" segment, indicating that this is set number 856, and the sequence number is 506.

2. The "Beginning" segment with qualifier code 00, meaning original; 00019549 is the bill of lading number; 900720 is the date created; 1540 is the time in military format.

3. A "Date and Time" segment with qualifier code 11, meaning shipped on this date and time.

4. A "Hierarchial Level" segment with 01 as the number to identify this group of related data elements. S is the qualifier code indicating SHIPMENT information follows, and 1 indicates that there will be subordinate (child) HL segments.

5. A "Type of Measurement" segment with PD qualifier code, meaning physical dimension; G qualifier code, meaning gross weight; 1292 for number of pounds, and the LB unit-of-measure qualifier code.

6. A "Carrier Detail-Routing" segment with B routing sequence code, meaning original carrier; 2 as an ID code qualifier, meaning that the ID code in the next data element is a standard carrier alpha code (SCAC); ANYT is the actual SCAC; the carrier name is the next element.

7. A "Reference Number" segment with CN qualifer, indicating that the next data element will be the carrier's PRO number; 20.533572 is the PRO number.

8. A "Name" segment with SF qualifier, indicating that this is a ship from segment; 91 qualifier, meaning assigned by seller; then our plant number 01.

9. A "Name" segment with ST qualifier indicating that this is a ship to segment; 92 qualifier meaning assigned by buyer; then the customer's plant number 9987.

10. A "Name" segment with VN qualifier indicating vendor; 08 qualifier indicating our UPC number; then our UPC number 999999.

11. A "Hierarchial Level" segment with 02 as number to identify this group of related data elements. O is the qualifier code indicating ORDER information follows, and 1 indicates that there will be subordinate (child) HL segments.

12. A "Purchase Order Reference" segment indicating that 9999-999 is the purchase order number and 0099 is the release number. 900319 is the purchase order date.

13. A duplicate of line number 6, except with the CC qualifier code, meaning that this shipment completes a release number.

14. A "Reference Number" segment with VN qualifier, meaning vendor order number; then our order number.

15. A "Hierarchial Level" segment with 03 as number to identify this group of related data elements. I is the qualifier code, indicating ITEM information follows, and 1 indicates that there will be subordinate (child) HL segments.

16. An "Item Identification Detail" segment with VN qualifier indicating vendor's item number; then our item number; then the IN qualifer indicating buyer's item number; then the buyer's item number.

17. A "Reference number" segment with IV qualifier, meaning vendor invoice number; then our invoice number.

18. A "Hierarchial Level" segment with 04 as number to identify this group of related data elements. Q is the qualifier code indicating SUB-PACK information follows, and O indicates that there will be NO subordinate (child) HL segments.

19. An "Item Identification Detail" segment with RO qualifier indicating roll number; then our inventory roll number.

20. A "Type of Measurement" segment with PD qualifier code, meaning physical dimension; LN qualifier code, meaning length; 587 for number of yards; and the YD unit-of-measure qualifier code.

21. A "Type of Measurement" segment with PD qualifier code, meaning physical dimension; CW qualifier code, meaning cuttable width; 587 for number of inches; and the IN unit-of-measure qualifier.

22. A "Type of Measurement" segment with PD qualifier code, meaning physical dimension; G qualifier code, meaning gross weight; 362 for number of pounds; and the LB unit of measure qualifier code.

Twenty-three thru 33 are segment groups for the remaining two rolls in the shipment.

34. A "Transaction totals" segment with the number of line items; and hash total of roll numbers.

35. A "Transaction set trailer" segment indicating the number of segments and the set sequence number.

The translator's main function is to check the file for adherence to the selected standards, record group relational errors, and code errors. The translation also inserts the required envelope control records and end-of-line characters. If any "terminal" errors are detected, the EDI documents will not be generated and error messages are printed.

The translator can invoke its own communications program, or an external program with which you are already familiar. However, it is necessary to modify a DOS.BAT file to do this.

After I understood the data requirements, I reviewed our S/36-based shipping procedures and files to locate a point where data could be captured. Information missing from our system could be taken from an additional data entry screen. At the end of the shipping day, a menu option that executes the PCU command would be run. This copies the EDI flat file to the S/36 virtual disk. PCU also translates the file from EBCDIC to ASCII. Then, any PC running PC Support/36 could attach to the virtual disk and use the DOS COPY command to retrieve the file.

Since multiple record formats are the rule rather than the exception in an EDI file, certain record groupings in the flat file made no sense to me. So I began to cheat - that is, I let the translator "teach" me through error messages. These messages tersely state which data-elements (fields) are missing or mis-matched and the segments (records) where they occur. After a few calls to the software support line, and persistent fiddling with RPG output specs, I finally translated a file with no errors. Now it was time to get on-line with the value added network.

Once again, I called on our customer's EDI contact for help with creating a "trading partnership" through the network. He walked me through the set-up options without any problem and we arranged a test transmittal.

At the time of the test, I exercised the entire flow of the system:

o Running a test shipment through the EDI flat file output program (on the S/36).

o Running PCU to copy it to the virtual disk (on the S/36).

o Copying the file to the PC from the virtual disk thru PC Support/36 (on the PC).

o Invoking the translator, thus creating another file (on the PC).

o Connecting with the network, via 1200 baud modem, and following the instructions for sending a "low speed service" file (on the PC).

Dig In Again

I sent the file to the network using the Hayes SMARTCOMM II communication program, apparently without difficulty. But when I tried to verify that it had been "logged" into the customer's mailbox, all I received was a cryptic "Invalid segment" error. The network support person told me that my file was unreadable by their system; therefore their error trapping prevented it from being accepted. I was told to contact the vendor of my translator software.

What the vendor told me came somewhat as a surprise. The network we use must have its files transmitted in "variable length" format, with a special "segment terminator" (end-of-line character). Fortunately, our translator package allows the selection of any character as a segment terminator, and it also includes a special conversion program to generate a variable length file. All I needed to do was change the segment terminator (a system set-up option) and insert a special .EXE command in the .BAT file after the translator ran.

I made the necessary changes and repeated the transmittal test. This time the file was accepted. After yet another conversation with our customer's EDI contact, I made some minor output changes to the RPG flat file program, and we have been transmitting the file on a daily basis ever since.

While I am still far from being an expert, I hope that my experience may help the first time EDI'er through the initial planning phases.

If you are about to undertake an EDI project of any size, there are some things to consider first:

- If you are going to use data from an installed midrange system, then this is a job that will require technical skills. If you operate a DP shop with no programmers, then retain the services of a reliable DP professional for the duration of the project. Shops that use packaged software exclusively should take note.

- There are translator options that allow you to define data entry screens and key the document directly to the PC. This could be used where no data exists on the host, and you probably will not need extensive programming.

- Your costs can vary depending on the method of communication best suited to your shop. Prices for the S/36 and AS/400 resident translator programs are higher than for the PC versions.

- Be prepared to allocate additional work time for the employee(s) who will be responsible for translating & sending the EDI document(s). This usually occurs toward the end of a business day.

In addition, here are some points in that might make the task of the programmer/analyst easier:

- Establish ongoing contact with a technical person at the other end of the partnership!

- Obtain and study the standards manuals for the type(s) and version(s) of EDI document(s) you will be sending or receiving.

- There may also be industry-specific "linkage council" manuals that will define subsets of certain EDI document standards that can be used for your industry. This reduces the number of segments that can be used in a document, thus making your job easier.

- If possible, evaluate several translator packages before you recommend or purchase one.

- Find out if the value added network requires files to be sent in a special format. Be sure the translator program can handle it.

A year has passed, and our EDI program has not grown in document types or customers, but their have been serious discussions along those lines. No matter if only one document is transmitted to one customer - the experience gained and the fact that our largest customer is satisfied made the journey into EDI a worthwhile one.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI): A Case Study

Figure 1 EDI advance shipment notice and explanation

 Figure 1: EDI Advance Shipment Notice and Explanation 1. ST*856*0506 2. BSN*00*00019549*900720*1540 3. DTM*011*900720*1540 4. HL*01**S*1 5. MEA*PD*G*1292*LB*0*0 6. TD5*B*2*ANYT**ANY TRUCK LINE NAME 7. REF*CN*99.99999 8. N1*SF**91*01 9. N1*ST**92*9987 10. N1*VN**08*999999 11. HL*02**O*1 12. PRF*9999-9999*0099**900319 13. TD5*B*2*ANYT**ANY TRUCK LINE NAME*CC 14. REF*VN*B-9999 15. HL*03**I*1 16. LIN**VN*0956***IN*BESTWEAVE 17. REF*IV*012345 18. HL*04**Q*0 19. LIN**RO*000343933 20. MEA*PD*LN*587*YD*0*0 21. MEA*PD*CW*60*IN*0*0 22. MEA*PD*G*362*LB*0*0 23. HL*04**Q*0 24. LIN**RO*000347114 25. MEA*PD*LN*772*YD*0*0 26. MEA*PD*CW*60*IN*0*0 27. MEA*PD*G*464*LB*0*0 28. HL*04**Q*0 29. LIN**RO*000348291 30. MEA*PD*LN*759*YD*0*0 31. MEA*PD*CW*60*IN*0*0 32. MEA*PD*G*466*LB*0*0 33. HL*04**Q*0 34. CTT*03*1039338 35. SE*35*0506 Note (*) is the data element separator. 






  • Mobile Computing and the IBM i

    SB ASNA PPL 5450Mobile computing is rapidly maturing into a solid platform for delivering enterprise applications. Many IBM i shops today are realizing that integrating their IBM i with mobile applications is the fast path to improved business workflows, better customer relations, and more responsive business reporting.

    This ASNA whitepaper takes a look at mobile computing for the IBM i. It discusses the different ways mobile applications may be used within the enterprise and how ASNA products solve the challenges mobile presents. It also presents the case that you already have the mobile programming team your projects need: that team is your existing RPG development team!

    Get your copy today!

  • Automate IBM i Operations using Wireless Devices

    DDL SystemsDownload the technical whitepaper on MANAGING YOUR IBM i WIRELESSLY and (optionally) register to download an absolutely FREE software trail. This whitepaper provides an in-depth review of the native IBM i technology and ACO MONITOR's advanced two-way messaging features to remotely manage your IBM i while in or away from the office. Notify on-duty personnel of system events and remotely respond to complex problems (via your Smartphone) before they become critical-24/7. Problem solved!

    Order your copy here.

  • DR Strategy Guide from Maxava: Brand New Edition - now fully updated to include Cloud!


    Download your free copy of DR Strategy Guide for IBM i from Maxava today.


  • White Paper: Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization

    SB Profound WP 5539

    If your business is thinking about modernizing your legacy IBM i (also known as AS/400 or iSeries) applications, you will want to read this white paper first!

    Download this paper and learn how Node.js can ensure that you:
    - Modernize on-time and budget - no more lengthy, costly, disruptive app rewrites!
    - Retain your IBM i systems of record
    - Find and hire new development talent
    - Integrate new Node.js applications with your existing RPG, Java, .Net, and PHP apps
    - Extend your IBM i capabilties to include Watson API, Cloud, and Internet of Things

    Read Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization Now!


  • 2020 IBM i Marketplace Survey Results


    This year marks the sixth edition of the popular IBM i Marketplace Survey Results. Each year, HelpSystems sets out to gather data about how businesses use the IBM i platform and the IT initiatives it supports. Year over year, the survey has begun to reveal long-term trends that give insight into the future of this trusted technology.

    More than 500 IBM i users from around the globe participated in this year’s survey, and we’re so happy to share the results with you. We hope you’ll find the information interesting and useful as you evaluate your own IT projects.

  • AIX Security Basics eCourse

    Core Security

    With so many organizations depending on AIX day to day, ensuring proper security and configuration is critical to ensure the safety of your environment. Don’t let common threats put your critical AIX servers at risk. Avoid simple mistakes and start to build a long-term plan with this AIX Security eCourse. Enroll today to get easy to follow instructions on topics like:

    • Removing extraneous files
    • Patching systems efficiently
    • Setting and validating permissions
    • Managing service considerations
    • Getting overall visibility into your networks


  • Developer Kit: Making a Business Case for Modernization and Beyond

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.

    Having trouble getting management approval for modernization projects? The problem may be you're not speaking enough "business" to them.

    This Developer Kit provides you study-backed data and a ready-to-use business case template to help get your very next development project approved!

  • What to Do When Your AS/400 Talent Retires

    HelpSystemsIT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators is small.

    This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn:

    • Why IBM i skills depletion is a top concern
    • How leading organizations are coping
    • Where automation will make the biggest impact


  • IBM i Resources Retiring?

    SB HelpSystems WC GenericLet’s face it: IBM i experts and RPG programmers are retiring from the workforce. Are you prepared to handle their departure?
    Our panel of IBM i experts—Chuck Losinski, Robin Tatam, Richard Schoen, and Tom Huntington—will outline strategies that allow your company to cope with IBM i skills depletion by adopting these strategies that allow you to get the job done without deep expertise on the OS:
    - Automate IBM i processes
    - Use managed services to help fill the gaps
    - Secure the system against data loss and viruses
    The strategies you discover in this webinar will help you ensure that your system of record—your IBM i—continues to deliver a powerful business advantage, even as staff retires.


  • Backup and Recovery Considerations for Security Data and Encrypted Backups

    SB PowerTech WC GenericSecurity expert Carol Woodbury is joined by Debbie Saugen. Debbie is an expert on IBM i backup and recovery, disaster recovery, and high availability, helping IBM i shops build and implement effective business continuity plans.
    In today’s business climate, business continuity is more important than ever. But 83 percent of organizations are not totally confident in their backup strategy.
    During this webinar, Carol and Debbie discuss the importance of a good backup plan, how to ensure you’re backing up your security information, and your options for encrypted back-ups.

  • Profound.js: The Agile Approach to Legacy Modernization

    SB Profound WC GenericIn this presentation, Alex Roytman and Liam Allan will unveil a completely new and unique way to modernize your legacy applications. Learn how Agile Modernization:
    - Uses the power of Node.js in place of costly system re-writes and migrations
    - Enables you to modernize legacy systems in an iterative, low-risk manner
    - Makes it easier to hire developers for your modernization efforts
    - Integrates with Profound UI (GUI modernization) for a seamless, end-to-end legacy modernization solution


  • Data Breaches: Is IBM i Really at Risk?

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIBM i is known for its security, but this OS could be more vulnerable than you think.
    Although Power Servers often live inside the safety of the perimeter firewall, the risk of suffering a data leak or data corruption remains high.
    Watch noted IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he discusses common ways that this supposedly “secure” operating system may actually be vulnerable and who the culprits might be.

    Watch the webinar today!


  • Easy Mobile Development

    SB Profound WC GenericWatch this on-demand webinar and learn how to rapidly and easily deploy mobile apps to your organization – even when working with legacy RPG code! IBM Champion Scott Klement will demonstrate how to:
    - Develop RPG applications without mobile development experience
    - Deploy secure applications for any mobile device
    - Build one application for all platforms, including Apple and Android
    - Extend the life and reach of your IBM i (aka iSeries, AS400) platform
    You’ll see examples from customers who have used our products and services to deliver the mobile applications of their dreams, faster and easier than they ever thought possible!


  • Profound UI: Unlock True Modernization from your IBM i Enterprise

    SB Profound PPL 5491Modern, web-based applications can make your Enterprise more efficient, connected and engaged. This session will demonstrate how the Profound UI framework is the best and most native way to convert your existing RPG applications and develop new modern applications for your business. Additionally, you will learn how you can address modernization across your Enterprise, including databases and legacy source code, with Profound Logic.

  • Node Webinar Series Pt. 1: The World of Node.js on IBM i

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

    Part 1 will teach you what Node.js is, why it's a great option for IBM i shops, and how to take advantage of the ecosystem surrounding Node.

    In addition to background information, our Director of Product Development Scott Klement will demonstrate applications that take advantage of the Node Package Manager (npm).

  • 5 New and Unique Ways to Use the IBM i Audit Journal

    SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericYou must be asking yourself: am I doing everything I can to protect my organization’s data? Tune in as our panel of IBM i high availability experts discuss:

    - Why companies don’t test role swaps when they know they should
    - Whether high availability in the cloud makes sense for IBM i users
    - Why some organizations don’t have high availability yet
    - How to get high availability up and running at your organization
    - High availability considerations for today’s security concerns

  • Profound.js 2.0: Extend the Power of Node to your IBM i Applications

    SB Profound WC 5541In this Webinar, we'll demonstrate how Profound.js 2.0 enables you to easily adopt Node.js in your business, and to take advantage of the many benefits of Node, including access to a much larger pool of developers for IBM i and access to countless reusable open source code packages on npm (Node Package Manager).
    You will see how Profound.js 2.0 allows you to:

    • Provide RPG-like capabilities for server-side JavaScript.
    • Easily create web and mobile application interfaces for Node on IBM i.
    • Let existing RPG programs call Node.js modules directly, and vice versa.
    • Automatically generate code for Node.js.
    • Automatically converts existing RPGLE code into clean, simplified Node.js code.

    Download and watch today!


  • Make Modern Apps You'll Love with Profound UI & Profound.js

    SB Profound WC 5541Whether you have green screens or a drab GUI, your outdated apps can benefit from modern source code, modern GUIs, and modern tools.
    Profound Logic's Alex Roytman and Liam Allan are here to show you how Free-format RPG and Node.js make it possible to deliver applications your whole business will love:

    • Transform legacy RPG code to modern free-format RPG and Node.js
    • Deliver truly modern application interfaces with Profound UI
    • Extend your RPG applications to include Web Services and NPM packages with Node.js


  • Accelerating Programmer Productivity with Sequel


    Most business intelligence tools are just that: tools, a means to an end but not an accelerator. Yours could even be slowing you down. But what if your BI tool didn't just give you a platform for query-writing but also improved programmer productivity?
    Watch the recorded webinar to see how Sequel:

    • Makes creating complex results simple
    • Eliminates barriers to data sources
    • Increases flexibility with data usage and distribution

    Accelerated productivity makes everyone happy, from programmer to business user.

  • Business Intelligence is Changing: Make Your Game Plan

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIt’s time to develop a strategy that will help you meet your informational challenges head-on. Watch the webinar to learn how to set your IT department up for business intelligence success. You’ll learn how the right data access tool will help you:

    • Access IBM i data faster
    • Deliver useful information to executives and business users
    • Empower users with secure data access

    Ready to make your game plan and finally keep up with your data access requests?


  • Controlling Insider Threats on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericLet’s face facts: servers don’t hack other servers. Despite the avalanche of regulations, news headlines remain chock full of stories about data breaches, all initiated by insiders or intruders masquerading as insiders.
    User profiles are often duplicated or restored and are rarely reviewed for the appropriateness of their current configuration. This increases the risk of the profile being able to access data without the intended authority or having privileges that should be reserved for administrators.
    Watch security expert Robin Tatam as he discusses a new approach for onboarding new users on IBM i and best-practices techniques for managing and monitoring activities after they sign on.

  • Don't Just Settle for Query/400...

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWhile introducing Sequel Data Access, we’ll address common frustrations with Query/400, discuss major data access, distribution trends, and more advanced query tools. Plus, you’ll learn how a tool like Sequel lightens IT’s load by:

    - Accessing real-time data, so you can make real-time decisions
    - Providing run-time prompts, so users can help themselves
    - Delivering instant results in Microsoft Excel and PDF, without the wait
    - Automating the query process with on-demand data, dashboards, and scheduled jobs

  • How to Manage Documents the Easy Way

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWhat happens when your company depends on an outdated document management strategy?
    Everything is harder.
    You don’t need to stick with status quo anymore.
    Watch the webinar to learn how to put effective document management into practice and:

    • Capture documents faster, instead of wasting everyone’s time
    • Manage documents easily, so you can always find them
    • Distribute documents automatically, and move on to the next task


  • Lessons Learned from the AS/400 Breach

    SB_PowerTech_WC_GenericGet actionable info to avoid becoming the next cyberattack victim.
    In “Data breach digest—Scenarios from the field,” Verizon documented an AS/400 security breach. Whether you call it AS/400, iSeries, or IBM i, you now have proof that the system has been breached.
    Watch IBM i security expert Robin Tatam give an insightful discussion of the issues surrounding this specific scenario.
    Robin will also draw on his extensive cybersecurity experience to discuss policies, processes, and configuration details that you can implement to help reduce the risk of your system being the next victim of an attack.

  • Overwhelmed by Operating Systems?

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this 30-minute recorded webinar, our experts demonstrate how you can:

    • Manage multiple platforms from a central location
    • View monitoring results in a single pane of glass on your desktop or mobile device
    • Take advantage of best practice, plug-and-play monitoring templates
    • Create rules to automate daily checks across your entire infrastructure
    • Receive notification if something is wrong or about to go wrong

    This presentation includes a live demo of Network Server Suite.


  • Real-Time Disk Monitoring with Robot Monitor

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericYou need to know when IBM i disk space starts to disappear and where it has gone before system performance and productivity start to suffer. Our experts will show you how Robot Monitor can help you pinpoint exactly when your auxiliary storage starts to disappear and why, so you can start taking a proactive approach to disk monitoring and analysis. You’ll also get insight into:

    • The main sources of disk consumption
    • How to monitor temporary storage and QTEMP objects in real time
    • How to monitor objects and libraries in real time and near-real time
    • How to track long-term disk trends



  • Stop Re-keying Data Between IBM I and Other Applications

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericMany business still depend on RPG for their daily business processes and report generation.Wouldn’t it be nice if you could stop re-keying data between IBM i and other applications? Or if you could stop replicating data and start processing orders faster? Or what if you could automatically extract data from existing reports instead of re-keying? It’s all possible. Watch this webinar to learn about:

    • The data dilemma
    • 3 ways to stop re-keying data
    • Data automation in practice

    Plus, see how HelpSystems data automation software will help you stop re-keying data.


  • The Top Five RPG Open Access Myths....BUSTED!

    SB_Profound_WC_GenericWhen it comes to IBM Rational Open Access: RPG Edition, there are still many misconceptions - especially where application modernization is concerned!

    In this Webinar, we'll address some of the biggest myths about RPG Open Access, including:

    • Modernizing with RPG OA requires significant changes to the source code
    • The RPG language is outdated and impractical for modernizing applications
    • Modernizing with RPG OA is the equivalent to "screen scraping"


  • Time to Remove the Paper from Your Desk and Become More Efficient

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericToo much paper is wasted. Attempts to locate documents in endless filing cabinets.And distributing documents is expensive and takes up far too much time.
    These are just three common reasons why it might be time for your company to implement a paperless document management system.
    Watch the webinar to learn more and discover how easy it can be to:

    • Capture
    • Manage
    • And distribute documents digitally


  • IBM i: It’s Not Just AS/400


    IBM’s Steve Will talks AS/400, POWER9, cognitive systems, and everything in between

    Are there still companies that use AS400? Of course!

    IBM i was built on the same foundation.
    Watch this recorded webinar with IBM i Chief Architect Steve Will and IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington to gain a unique perspective on the direction of this platform, including:

    • IBM i development strategies in progress at IBM
    • Ways that Watson will shake hands with IBM i
    • Key takeaways from the AS/400 days


  • Ask the RDi Experts

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWatch this recording where Jim Buck, Susan Gantner, and Charlie Guarino answered your questions, including:

    • What are the “hidden gems” in RDi that can make me more productive?
    • What makes RDi Debug better than the STRDBG green screen debugger?
    • How can RDi help me find out if I’ve tested all lines of a program?
    • What’s the best way to transition from PDM to RDi?
    • How do I convince my long-term developers to use RDi?

    This is a unique, online opportunity to hear how you can get more out of RDi.


  • Node.js on IBM i Webinar Series Pt. 2: Setting Up Your Development Tools

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. In Part 2, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Attend this webinar to learn:

    • Different tools to develop Node.js applications on IBM i
    • Debugging Node.js
    • The basics of Git and tools to help those new to it
    • Using as a pre-built development environment



  • Inside the Integrated File System (IFS)

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericDuring this webinar, you’ll learn basic tips, helpful tools, and integrated file system commands—including WRKLNK—for managing your IFS directories and Access Client Solutions (ACS). We’ll answer your most pressing IFS questions, including:

    • What is stored inside my IFS directories?
    • How do I monitor the IFS?
    • How do I replicate the IFS or back it up?
    • How do I secure the IFS?

    Understanding what the integrated file system is and how to work with it must be a critical part of your systems management plans for IBM i.


  • Expert Tips for IBM i Security: Beyond the Basics

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

    Don't miss this chance to take your knowledge of IBM i security beyond the basics.



  • 5 IBM i Security Quick Wins

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn today’s threat landscape, upper management is laser-focused on cybersecurity. You need to make progress in securing your systems—and make it fast.
    There’s no shortage of actions you could take, but what tactics will actually deliver the results you need? And how can you find a security strategy that fits your budget and time constraints?
    Join top IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he outlines the five fastest and most impactful changes you can make to strengthen IBM i security this year.
    Your system didn’t become unsecure overnight and you won’t be able to turn it around overnight either. But quick wins are possible with IBM i security, and Robin Tatam will show you how to achieve them.

  • How to Meet the Newest Encryption Requirements on IBM i

    SB PowerTech WC GenericA growing number of compliance mandates require sensitive data to be encrypted. But what kind of encryption solution will satisfy an auditor and how can you implement encryption on IBM i? Watch this on-demand webinar to find out how to meet today’s most common encryption requirements on IBM i. You’ll also learn:

    • Why disk encryption isn’t enough
    • What sets strong encryption apart from other solutions
    • Important considerations before implementing encryption



  • Security Bulletin: Malware Infection Discovered on IBM i Server!

    SB PowerTech WC GenericMalicious programs can bring entire businesses to their knees—and IBM i shops are not immune. It’s critical to grasp the true impact malware can have on IBM i and the network that connects to it. Attend this webinar to gain a thorough understanding of the relationships between:

    • Viruses, native objects, and the integrated file system (IFS)
    • Power Systems and Windows-based viruses and malware
    • PC-based anti-virus scanning versus native IBM i scanning

    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. IBM i security expert Sandi Moore explains the facts, including how to ensure you're fully protected and compliant with regulations such as PCI.



  • Fight Cyber Threats with IBM i Encryption

    SB PowerTech WC GenericCyber attacks often target mission-critical servers, and those attack strategies are constantly changing. To stay on top of these threats, your cybersecurity strategies must evolve, too. In this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access




  • 10 Practical IBM i Security Tips for Surviving Covid-19 and Working From Home

    SB PowerTech WC GenericNow that many organizations have moved to a work from home model, security concerns have risen.

    During this session Carol Woodbury will discuss the issues that the world is currently seeing such as increased malware attacks and then provide practical actions you can take to both monitor and protect your IBM i during this challenging time.


  • How to Transfer IBM i Data to Microsoft Excel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic3 easy ways to get IBM i data into Excel every time
    There’s an easy, more reliable way to import your IBM i data to Excel? It’s called Sequel. During this webinar, our data access experts demonstrate how you can simplify the process of getting data from multiple sources—including Db2 for i—into Excel. Watch to learn how to:

    • Download your IBM i data to Excel in a single step
    • Deliver data to business users in Excel via email or a scheduled job
    • Access IBM i data directly using the Excel add-in in Sequel

    Make 2020 the year you finally see your data clearly, quickly, and securely. Start by giving business users the ability to access crucial business data from IBM i the way they want it—in Microsoft Excel.



  • HA Alternatives: MIMIX Is Not Your Only Option on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this recorded webinar, our experts introduce you to the new HA transition technology available with our Robot HA software. You’ll learn how to:

    • Transition your rules from MIMIX (if you’re happy with them)
    • Simplify your day-to-day activities around high availability
    • Gain back time in your work week
    • Make your CEO happy about reducing IT costs

    Don’t stick with a legacy high availability solution that makes you uncomfortable when transitioning to something better can be simple, safe, and cost-effective.



  • Comply in 5! Well, actually UNDER 5 minutes!!

    SB CYBRA PPL 5382

    TRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms.

    Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product.

    Request your trial now!

  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates the routine tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:
    - Simplified backup procedures
    - Easy data encryption
    - Save media management
    - Guided restoration
    - Seamless product integration
    Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Try the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Manage IBM i Messages by Exception with Robot

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events?
    Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated message management
    - Tailored notifications and automatic escalation
    - System-wide control of your IBM i partitions
    - Two-way system notifications from your mobile device
    - Seamless product integration
    Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing.
    Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

    - Automated report distribution
    - View online without delay
    - Browser interface to make notes
    - Custom retention capabilities
    - Seamless product integration
    Rerun another report? Never again. Try the Robot Report Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated batch, interactive, and cross-platform scheduling
    - Event-driven dependency processing
    - Centralized monitoring and reporting
    - Audit log and ready-to-use reports
    - Seamless product integration
    Scale your software, not your staff. Try the Robot Job Scheduling Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • ACO MONITOR Manages your IBM i 24/7 and Notifies You When Your IBM i Needs Assistance!

    SB DDL Systems 5429More than a paging system - ACO MONITOR is a complete systems management solution for your Power Systems running IBM i. ACO MONITOR manages your Power System 24/7, uses advanced technology (like two-way messaging) to notify on-duty support personnel, and responds to complex problems before they reach critical status.

    ACO MONITOR is proven technology and is capable of processing thousands of mission-critical events daily. The software is pre-configured, easy to install, scalable, and greatly improves data center efficiency.