Symtrax Improves iSeries Report Access with WebReports
February 3, 2004 Alex Woodie
Companies looking for a centralized, Web-based repository to house spool file reports from OS/400 servers and other systems may want to check out the latest software from Symtrax. This month the company is launching WebReports, an improved version of its Symtrax Portal software, which, among other new features, provides improved integration with other Symtrax products, such as Compleo.
The role of WebReports, like its predecessor, is to capture data and documents from a variety of different computer systems, to index the information, then to provide Web-based access to that information. But WebReports builds upon Symtrax Portal in a few key areas, Symtrax officials say.
First, WebReports features better integration with Compleo, the company’s spool file distribution tool for the OS/400 server. The tighter integration has several benefits, including allowing WebReports to capture and index spool file reports directly from the iSeries. Users can also now import OS/400 spool files directly into Microsoft Excel from a Web browser, or run reports interactively on the OS/400 server, and have the results appear in a Web browser, the company says.
Another improvement has to do with the viewing software that users need to access documents or data stored in WebReports. In WebReports, when users click a spool file, they are prompted to install a very small ActiveX component into their Web browser, which lets them search for, display, and print relevant information. Depending on the authority level granted to users through WebReports, they may be able to import that data directly into applications such as Excel.
WebReports also has the capability to build custom search forms for predefined groups of users. This feature lets users search for documents based on specific attributes, keywords, or metatags, and will benefit groups, such as customer service representatives, who need to search for the same type of data on a regular basis, says David Morgenstern, Symtrax vice president. “The customer service user simply types the order number, item, and date into the form, and the order form is retrieved, without having to search through numerous forms or using advanced searching techniques,” he says.
Another cool feature is WebReport’s capability to send users e-mail alerts with a link to a document whenever a new document is available to a user. “The capability to receive an e-mail when a file has been updated can be crucial when companies are waiting to make decisions on the most up-to-date information,” Morgenstern says. “Having the information there, and knowing the information is there, are two different things.”
With its capability to store and display a variety of different document types, including native OS/400 spool files, Microsoft office documents, HTML, PDF, XML, TIFs, and others (as well its indexing and searching capabilities), WebReports can function as a low-cost alternative to more expensive archiving solutions, Symtrax says. With its myriad of other features, WebReports can also benefit users through simplified access to data and reduced printing and mailing costs.
WebReports requires a Windows 2000 Server or newer operating system, the IIS 5.0 HTTP server, and Internet Explorer 5.5 or later. Pricing starts at $5,000. Symtrax is holding a Webinar on WebReports tomorrow, February 4, at 11:00 a.m. PST. To sign up for this free event, go to www.symtrax.com/webinar.