IBM i Modernization Case

The Added Value of Modernization: Infitex

Conversion of 5250 screens into graphic screens: in 2006, computer services company Infitex decided to modernize the interface for its software to achieve a more modern look. SilverDev took the Infitex team way beyond its initial objectives, since the tool gradually enabled modernization of the core accounting ERP, offering a new market position under competitive conditions.

Infitex is a computer services company that has been publishing applications and ERP on IBM i (AS/400) since 1988, specializing in corporate management and communication.

Around a dozen employees develop, maintain and market the company’s products, which include ERP packages OLYMP for sales management, and OLYMP COMPTA, its accounting tool.

Objective: Efficiency

With 13 years’ accounting experience, Mohammed Barki joined the Infitex team in 1999 as RPG developer. His dual skills logically led to him taking over the development of OLYMP COMPTA, for which he is currently responsible.

Mohammed Barki and his team started looking into modernization in 2006 to offer their users a more attractive and modern interface. They naturally tried out various existing solutions, including browser-based tools which seemed like a good, rapid solution.

More than graphic 24x80

“However, the first batches of screens converted to graphic mode did not resolve the main problems of the 5250 system: “The visible result  was a graphic screen, but in fact, it was nothing more than the original 24x80 screen. We needed extra development time to be able to propose a fully developed interface”.

“Why SilverDev? The tool enables the creation of attractive, but more importantly, functional applications.”

The Infitex team then turned to SilverDev, attracted by the tool’s possibility to create rich graphic interfaces, while preserving the initial RPG development. It was very quick to master and the team was operational after just 4-5 days’ training in Windows ergonomics. “The tool is user-friendly, even instinctive for developers,” adds Mohammed Barki.

SilverDev, the trigger element to improving the application’s core

The first redevelopment project with SilverDev was the accounting tool. “SilverDev was a pretext for upgrading the core of a 20-year old application”, emphasizes Mohammed Barki.
OLYMP COMPTA was a monolithic application comprising around 100,000 lines. The development teams upgraded from RPG III code to RPG ILE free, revised the data access system using SQL and re-organized the program into different modules. “The code is now more effective, and maintenance time has been reduced significantly” concludes Mohammed Barki.

“ The development project was an inconvenience that turned into an asset!”

Re-thinking user-oriented applications

By the end of 2007, Infitex had presented a first version of the modernized accounting application to a team of users accustomed to the old tool. The project was an immediate hit! More flexible and comfortable to use, the modernized version offered access to new functions that had become everyday essentials, such as exporting to Excel or using office software. The demonstration led to the signing of a contract for an additional module to automate monitoring of the client workstation.
The OLYMP COMPTA application was re-designed module by module, in collaboration with its users: Mohammed Barki based his improvements on the business functions that users identified in order to create tools to offer faster processing.
“With SilverDev, we can take development much further. We made the most of this possibility to create user-oriented modules. Throughout the development process, we concentrated on the advantages of using our applications for users.”

Saving time every day

Ergonomics, user-friendliness, automation… these are the three fundamental changes for users of the modernized ERP. The Infitex team made the modules more efficient:

  • Fewer clicks to access information
  • Automatic management of repetitive tasks: file generation, sending invoices and reminders, automatic lettering, etc.
  • Use of predefined models to build invoices according to type of supplier

70-75% faster

The best illustration of the effects of the work carried out is probably bank reconciliation. With a volume of 600 transactions processed every day, this task, carried out manually, took several hours to complete. One of the application’s objectives was to enable automatic reconciliation between back statements and bank accounts. “This now only takes 5 minutes”, points out Mohammed Barki.
“Similarly,” he continues, “we have also automated supplied payment. All steps are now carried out by SilverDev, from the payment proposal to e-mailing of invoice statements. Once the proposal has been validated, SilverDev enables generation of the remote transmission file for the bank, generation of the payment account entries and their lettering. This saves precious time.”

Project result 

The modernization project with SilverDev was an opportunity to rethink the product as a whole, in terms of both code and user functions.
The users were convinced by the added value in terms of productivity as well as by the user-friendliness of this graphic version of OLYMP COMPTA. Infitex was able to re-position an “ageing” ERP as a competitive product. OLYMP COMPTA now meets client expectations and offers the development team enough flexibility to create new modules whenever a new request is made.

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