System i Innovation Rewarded by IBM and COMMON
May 7, 2007 Dan Burger
Great ideas can be analyzed, concepts modified, directions re-thought, and pieces re-bought. You can refuse to change a thing or throw out nearly everything. But in the end, if your business is IT hardware, software, or services and you haven’t created something truly useful, you might as well wipe the slate clean and start over.
Incremental improvements to existing products and services are undoubtedly beneficial. You can’t find fault with more performance and fewer bugs, but when in search of the most notable additions to the IT landscape, the aim is a bit higher. We look at categories like innovation, simplification, business resiliency, educations and community support. In fact, those factors–and an eye toward increasing workloads and attaching greater value to the platform–are exactly the criteria for the System i Innovation Awards as defined by IBM and COMMON. Those two organizations announced the winners last week at the COMMON Conference in Anaheim, California.
The 2007 award winners are: Bank of America Foreign Items Systems, The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM), Walt Disney World, FedEx Ground, Gateway Technical College, and Angus the iT Chap.
Bank of America’s Foreign Item Systems earned the award for solution innovation based on its service oriented architecture and Web services application, which provided a return on investment of more than 385 percent and an estimated 32 percent savings in operating cost after the first year. The solution integrated two disparate systems with transaction flow in real-time, enabling support for a network of more than 2,000 branches and tens of thousands of tellers.
The award for infrastructure simplification was presented to The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM), which migrated from a traditional telephone environment to an integrated VoIP environment. The implementation, with an assist from Key Information Systems, significantly reduced telephone costs, consolidated voice and data applications onto one platform, and integrated a unified messaging system to include existing Lotus Notes e-mail and Omtool‘s Genifax solutions. In the process, six telephone private branch exchanges were reduced to one using a Linux partition on the System i.
Walt Disney World used native i5/OS technology and Web-based application software from Profound Logic to modernize the user interface of a legacy application that controlled the front desk cashier check-in and check-out procedure across 27 Walt Disney World resorts. The project is credited with improving front desk cashier productivity and reducing training costs at the resorts. This Innovation Award came in the category of i5/OS Focus
The award for innovation in the area of business resiliency was picked up by FedEx Ground. The IT department there developed a high availability and disaster recovery solution on a single System i server using technology provided by DataMirror. This project provides continuously available customer service in support of its high-volume package sorting, vehicle management, and contractor management programs.
Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, received the award for education excellence by collaborating with the Wisconsin Midrange Computer Professional Association user group to increase job opportunities for graduating students and educate local businesses about System i tools and technology. James Buck, an IT System i programming instructor at the school, led this project. He was instrumental in developing evening and one-day seminars, creating an advisory board with recruited local professionals to help design the System i curriculum, and opening networking opportunities for students.
The award for community support went to Angus the iT Chap (aka Trevor Perry) for encouraging the System i community to become more vocal and public about their passion for the platform. Perry is a System i consultant, IT strategist, and motivational speaker who has a considerable following at AngustheiTChap.com.
A committee of representatives from IBM and COMMON selected the award recipients. Each winner receive an engraved Tiffany crystal award, a complimentary one-year membership to COMMON, and five complimentary registrations to COMMON’s 2008 Annual Conference & Expo in Nashville, Tennessee.