Two Baseline partners, New Generation Software (NGS) and S4i Systems, were highlighted in IT Jungle's Four Hundred Stuff, a publication well-known to IBM users. Excerpts are below with links for full-article access.
EXCERPT / How does business intelligence and reporting for $125 per user per month sound to you? That's the starting price for a subscription to NGS-IQ Cloud, the new cloud-hosted business intelligence and reporting solution that New Generation Software and Baseline Data Services unveiled. The new offering starts with New Gen's suite of business intelligence and reporting tools for the IBM i server, which includes the core NGS-IQ Server, the IQ-Client query and report development tool, pre-built dashboards, and Web- and Windows clients. New Gen's software is a proven commodity in the industry, with thousands of installations at IBM i shops over the years.
The only difference between NGS-IQ Cloud and a regular NGS-IQ installation is that NGS-IQ Cloud installs on IBM i servers hosted in one of Baseline's data centers in Indiana and South Carolina. Instead of providing your own IBM i environment, you use Baseline's environment, and leave all the maintenance to Baseline, too. The offering also includes a copy of Maxava's data replication technology, called DataStream, for moving the data from customers' production systems to NGS-IQ running with Baseline.
NGS director of marketing Bill Langton has envisioned several circumstances where the software will be a good fit. For starters, NGS-IQ Cloud gets the reporting and query workloads off the production IBM i system. "We definitely saw there are clients in this market who would like to have better analysis and reporting over their data," he says. "But when you start talking about those Web and mobile capabilities coming right off their production box, some of them are very hesitant about that. This gives them a way to push the data that they need to over to a separate LPAR, and not have those users coming right into their production box."
"We wanted to find a partner who could provide us with a secure data center with all the infrastructure that could also support us in an IBM i environment, so a customer could still have IBM i security, DB2, and the familiar environment they have in house, and be able to support their mobile and Web users in a way that they are isolating them from their production environment on premise."
While Baseline's technicians handle the day-to-day tasks of monitoring, backups, and applying PTFs, NGS-IQ Cloud customers can still get their hands on a command line if needed. "In this environment, the customer can still administer their user's data, just like they do on their in- house box. It just happens to be in Baseline's data center," Langton says.
EXCERPT / S4i Systems' decision to market its electronic document management system on a subscription basis looks like a well-timed strategy. At the COMMON Annual Meeting and Exposition, there was plenty of talk about hosted services, software as a service, cloud computing, multi-platform reality, and data centers ready to help IBM midrange customers move workloads off-premise. S4i is handling some of this on its own server and has partnered with Baseline Data Services for most of it.
Electronic document management from this IBM i software vendor goes by the name of S4i Express. It consists of modules for document capture, automated distribution, archiving and retrieving, plus custom form design. Most people think of document management in terms of accounts payable items such as invoice matching, routing, approval and payment, or with business processes like requisitions and procurement, claims processing, and personnel files. However, many companies integrate it with their ERP systems and find it useful to the sales and marketing reports. Workflow efficiency and the elimination (or at least a substantial reduction) of printed forms costs are the main benefits.
Susanne Moore, S4i's director of marketing and client services, picked two reasons that she believes the hosted services model is the right move at the right time. First there's the multi-platform capabilities that comes with delivering S4i Express as a service. Express is designed for both IBM i and Microsoft Windows platforms.
"Organizations want assurance that we can support them, not only today, but into the future regardless of the path that their core business applications take them," she says. Secondly, there's the workload management and available resources side. "Companies with limited IT resources are looking for more options that will allow for varying levels of support for managing business applications and servers."
Baseline offers options that include the customers buying software licenses or subscriptions, managing those apps or having Baseline manage them, and either having their hardware systems on premise or at the Baseline data center.
"Our customers are getting to the point where they are making decisions on whether to keep an existing ERP solution, CRM solution, and warehouse management solution," Moore says. "They don't want to worry about the platform. This hosted services option allows customers to not be concerned if they switch platforms. They can keep their repository and document management system. It's one less app to worry about migrating and they can focus on business rather than server platform."