Web Developer Affinigent Acquires iSeries Specialist Hainey Business Systems
July 24, 2006 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Perhaps more than any other system that IBM sold in its history, the company’s midrange products–the System/36, AS/400, and iSeries machines in particular–were always sold on a regional basis, even though the machines were architected for international businesses with their unique language, currency, and power requirements.
Back in the heyday of the AS/400, in the mid-1990s, the AS/400 bragged about having more than 8,000 software partners who sold over 20,000 applications. Most of those companies are companies most of us never heard of, because we were not in their business vertical or their region. Why former IBM chairman Louis Gerstner enacted so many channel policies that radically shrank that base of ISV partners–and forced a similar shrinking of the reseller channel–is a debate for the history books. This diversity was always the strength of the platform–and in some areas, relatively small companies still do interesting and good work.
If you are from the Philadelphia metro area, you might have heard of a company called Affinigent, which is based in York, Pennsylvania. And if you are a midrange customer from that same area, you might have heard of Hainey Business Systems, a company that provides a wide range of services–including sales, systems integration, and Web integration for the OS/400 and i5/OS platform. Affinigent has recently acquired HBS from Shipley Group, which, among other things, runs a giant oil and gas distribution business (for home heating). The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Shipley apparently still has a stake in HBS under the deal it struck with Affinigent. (Why Shipley wanted a captive IT company is a story for another day, but a lot of energy companies did, because when you run gas lines, you can also run fiber optic lines.)
The funny bit is this: If Affinigent had not been the focus of a story in the York Daily Record, which profiled this nine-person company, no one at IT Jungle would have known that the 18-person HBS had been acquired. That is how regional the System i business still is, even after a decade of neglect and outright hostility from IBM in the 1990s. We also would not have found out that Affinigent was an award-winning Web developer that now has deep System i5 skills.
So, if you need help with your Web-OS/400 development, Affinigent might have the skills you need.