LANSA Packages Modernization; Leasing Covers it All
September 17, 2007 Dan Burger
All it takes is time and money. That’s an apt summation for just about any IT project, but is particularly true about application modernization, a project that is on the minds of many IT managers in iSeries shops. For most of them, it’s a determination of how much effort it requires, how that effort can be applied with existing staff, and how it fits into a workable budget. Alleviating those concerns is the benefit LANSA believes it has built into a new program it has introduced with the cooperation of Avnet and IBM.
LANSA calls this program the Lease of Life. The lease part comes from the combination of System i hardware, software, and consulting services that are packaged together with financial assistance provided by IBM Global Financing. The life part comes from the impetus it provides to getting modernization projects under way. In other words, it gives life to modernization projects that otherwise are stalled.
If application modernization at your organization hasn’t gone beyond the “thinking about it” stage, LANSA is giving you something new to consider. It’s an incentive program with LANSA’s Rapid Application Modernization Process (RAMP) bundled with new System i hardware, services to aid the implementation, and leasing arrangements that exist through IBM’s authorized reseller channel. At this time, it’s considered a pilot program available only in the U.K., but LANSA and Avnet are expecting to roll it out in the U.S. sometime early in 2008.
Heading the program in the U.K. is Martin Fincham, LANSA’s General Manager for the EMEA region. His view of the OS/400 and i5/OS landscape is that many System i shops that are scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to application efficiency and employee productivity because they remain dependent on green-screen applications. “These legacy assets are both a help and a hindrance,” he says. “Their contribution to daily operations is significant and yet they also inhibit change and restrict growth. Decision-makers need to reduce the perceived risk of upgrading such critical systems, so we formed a consortium with three of the leading System i vendors to engender their confidence. By bundling the latest value-for-money System i servers with the unique LANSA Rapid Application Modernisation Process (RAMP), all delivered through the trusted IBM Business Partner network, we have created the most compelling path to complete System i modernisation.”
This idea for Lease of Life germinated with IBM’s announcement of the i515 and i525, which, Fincham points out, “brought a different price and value point compared to the systems people were buying three, four, or five years ago to do the same job.”
LANSA’s RAMP products, which were introduced in March 2006, are focused on green-screen modernization. That meant the hardware that required interactive processing rather than batch. For example, an iSeries Model 810 may have been configured to 60 CPW for interactive and 1200 CPW for batch. Since the introduction of the System i 515, the box will deliver 3,800 CPW for interactive or batch.
“The last five RAMP customers that signed up in Europe,” Fincham says, “replaced the hardware they had been on with a 515 or 525. In all five cases, the price differential in the hardware was in the range of $50,000 to $100,000.”
That’s $50,000 to $100,000 of savings, as Fincham sees it, and that money pays for all the software and services required to modernize the entire environment. “You can upgrade and roll forward your lease and yet your payments–the total capital expenditure– remains the same,” he figures.
Because the typical modernization project has heavy implementation costs up front, the financing aspect is a key benefit relating to the affordability aspect.
LANSA’s modernization software is also designed so that an incremental approach can be taken if the customer sees that as beneficial in terms of either functionality or fiscal prudence. The incremental stages are referred to in LANSA lingo as Service Pack 1, 2, and 3. It begins with basic green screen refacing (screen-scraping), adds the potential to create a rich user interface, and can also extend applications to the level of functionality that wasn’t possible before. This would encompass the building of composite applications involving pieces from green screens, SQL data, Web services, and other local applications and their functionality. As Fincham points out, the incremental method provides project accountability along the way.
Improving application functionality and user efficiency is a huge benefit in these projects. It doesn’t necessarily have to incorporate a multitude of applications.
“Modernization planning,” Fincham says, “is about finding the 20 percent of the things that people do 80 percent of the time. It could have an effect on 10 or 12 applications, and that could include just a few or maybe as many as 1,000 green screens. We just delivered a complete RAMP project involving 12 key business processes, which delivered 25 percent user productivity in a call center. It was done in 66 days.”
As LANSA and Avnet roll out the Lease of Life program in the U.K., they will draw on the services of three consulting firms if and when customers require additional services. Those companies, all of which are IBM Business Partners, are Cambell Lee, Northdoor, and Quattro Consulting. The three levels of service pact software that LANSA offers include five days, 30 days, and 60 days of service respectively.