looksoftware Gives Adidas Korea’s Green-Screen ERP an Office Interface
March 4, 2008 Alex Woodie
When sporting goods distributor adidas Korea decided it was time to modernize its i5/OS-based business applications, it was hoping to create a Microsoft Office-based interface to its 5250-based ERP system. While such a setup might sound farfetched at first, it’s not only possible, but it was actually delivered by looksoftware as part of an application makeover.
B.H. Lee, team leader of adidas Korea’s IT department, was tasked with helping to improve the IT systems rollout of new products, promotions, and the processing of orders and sales. “To achieve these requirements, we investigated a number of options,” Lee says, “and newlook gave the best results. It made it possible for us to develop a graphical, Web-enabled user interface in no time at all.”
Not only are adidas Korea’s users accessing their i5/OS applications from a Web browser, but they’re also interacting with the applications from Excel, Word, Outlook, and other components of Microsoft’s Office suite. “They love the seamless integration with Microsoft Office and now think the System i is wonderful,” Lee says.
looksoftware delivered the capability to remake 5250 screens into Office components last year with the introduction of the version 8.1 release of its Dynamic Environment. Outlook and Google Gadgets interfaces are delivered by first running the targeted 5250 application through the Transaction Recorder component of looksoftware’s soarchitect, which then creates Web services interfaces from the code that can be consumed by Outlook or Google Gadgets.
Marcus Dee, managing director of looksoftware, says adidas Korea is following the lead of Microsoft and SAP, which worked together on the Duet project to connect SAP’s back-end functionality with Microsoft’s Office front end. “The analysts, including Gartner and Forrester, agree that it makes sense to connect existing back-end applications to the front ends that most users already use and prefer, like Microsoft’s Outlook and IBM‘s Notes,” he says. “IBM back-end applications can be accessed from Outlook, Notes, even Google, relatively easily, using SOA, without changing a line of code.”
Perhaps most importantly, instead of being dismayed by the idea of working in a “legacy” green-screen environment, adidas Korea’s users are actively participating in the ongoing refinement of the company’s IT assets. “Our users are now actively suggesting other ways in which the applications can benefit from newlook’s capabilities,” Lee says.