NGS Hooks Into Query/400 to Protect BI Investments
Published: June 19, 2007
by Alex Woodie
When it comes to i5/OS business intelligence (BI) solutions, good old Query/400 has a huge following. While the tool is no longer being updated by IBM, many i5/OS shops have large investments in Query/400 that they aren't able or willing to abandon. Rather than force customers to start from scratch, BI software developer New Generation Software is now helping customers protect their Query/400 investments by inputting the queries into its NGS-IQ suite through a new API announced last week.
The new API from New Generation Software (NGS) enables users to take their older queries developed with Query/400 and run them or input them into NGS' flagship product, the NGS-IQ business intelligence suite. Users will gain the capability to load their older queries into Excel spreadsheets, convert them into XML, or distribute them as PDF documents. They can also run an entire series of Query/400 queries in a specified order before enhancing them with NGS-IQ, according to NGS.
NGS IQ is a collection of business intelligence software products that run on i5/OS and Windows machines. At the heart of the NGS IQ suite is the Intelligent Query (IQ) Server, the core data warehousing and reporting tool that is used to create data warehouses, design reports, and run queries against the DB2/400 database.
Surrounding the IQ Server is a supporting cast of products that includes:
- Qport Access, which is used to access i5/OS-based IQ Server queries and reports and distribute them via Windows formats and applications, such as Excel
- Qport Builder, a companion tool to Qport Access that delivers more advanced reporting capabilities and works from a Windows or a Web interface
- IQ SeQure, a security module that works with i5/OS to allow or restrict user access to databases and queries
- Qport SmartView, a Windows-based on-line analytical processing (OLAP) module that is used to develop advanced multidimensional reports
- Business Performance Dashboard, a collection of prebuilt Web interfaces that exhibit IQ Server reports using a series of graphical elements, such as charts and tables, designed for specific business functions, like inventory or finance
- Decision Assist, a pre-built, Windows-based analytical solution that works with IQ Server and SmartView to deliver detailed reports, such as sales by division or top manufacturing items by profit margin
- IQ Client, the new Windows-based query and report writing tool that works in a drag-and-drop manner and supports all of IQ Server's functionality
"For thousands of System i customers, Query/400 reports embody a huge source of intellectual capital," says John O'Sullivan, NGS' vice president of IT. "They contain valuable information about file relationships and unique business processes. Many companies tell us they want to improve their BI solution but don't want to recreate all their queries in order to move ahead. With this API they don't need to, and their path to a positive return is almost immediate."
The huge Query/400 footprint is becoming increasingly important in the System i business intelligence market. Earlier this year, IBM announced that it would deliver a new product that would support older queries developed with Query/400 and make them available through a more modern business intelligence tool. That product, which IBM is developing with Information Builders, is called DB2 Web Query.
Is NGS' new API a response to DB2 Web Query? No, says Mary Lynn Treadwell, marketing communications manager for NGS. "While we always have an eye on new competitive pressures, this API is a response to our realization that the majority of our customers run IBM Query/400 and NGS-IQ in part because they have a significant legacy of existing queries they don't have the time to rewrite, especially for queries that may not need all the added functionality of our query engine," she writes in an e-mail.
Besides, Treadwell continues, it's tough to develop a counter-product to something that doesn't even exist yet. "We don't know how our Query/400 API compares to what IBM may include in DB2 Web Query because that product is still in development, has not officially been announced, and has no official availability date, licensing terms, or pricing at this time," she writes. "We did feel it was important to support more than just V5R4 because the majority of System i customers worldwide are currently running earlier i5/OS releases."
The Query/400 API is available now as a feature of the NGS-IQ suite. The Query/400 API will work with OS/400 V5R1 and higher. Pricing for NGS-IQ was not disclosed. For more information, see www.ngsi.com.
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