Gillani Hopes to Expand Presence on Power Systems
November 18, 2008 Alex Woodie
Gillani recently announced the pending availability of its iDistribute suite of enterprise applications on IBM‘s Power Systems server. With its suite of financials and supply chain management software running across the Power Systems’ three operating systems–i, AIX, and Linux–Gillani says it’s poised to give the big ERP vendors a run for their money.
Gillani (pronounced with a soft “g”) was founded 25 years ago as an accounting software provider, Softa Associates. The company later changed its name to FourGen Software to reflect its new fourth-generation language (4GL) development tools for the Informix database, called FourGen CASE Tools, which the company still sells.
Along the way, the company used FourGen to develop a suite of supply chain management and financial management applications, which today are sold under the iDistribute name. The suite provides supply chain planning, execution, and collaboration capabilities integrated with a financials package (GL, AP, AR, and fixed assets), all delivered from a Web interface, and codelessly customizable using FourGen.
In late October, the Dallas, Texas-based company announced that iDistribute version 8.3 would be available on the Power Systems servers starting November 3. Gillani has been benchmarking the performance of iDistribute on Power Systems boxes, specifically the new Power 560 Express, a midrange server that can be outfitted with up to 16 Power6 processors.
Most of Gillani’s 13,000 installations to-date have been on IBM’s Intel-based xSeries and System x servers, running Linux or variants of Unix, says Syed Bilal, chief operating officer for Gillani. The company also has a strong history on Solaris and HP-UX, but today the IBM business partner is looking to align itself with Big Blue and its industry-leading Power Systems platform.
While Gillani is touting iDistribute’s capability to run on the IBM i operating system, that is a bit of a stretch, Bilal admitted. The heart of the ERP suite requires Linux or AIX operating systems running on DB2, Informix, or Oracle; in fact it does not run on i OS or DB2 for i. The company does offer a Java-based e-commerce package as part of iDistribute that will run on WebSphere running on the i. But the guts of iDistribute require a ‘Nix-based operating system.
Despite that fact, Gillani is pressing ahead with plans to target the huge Power Systems, System i, iSeries, and AS/400 installed base with its product. In fact, considering IBM’s ambivalence toward what is and what isn’t an AS/400 any more, it may not make much difference whether iDistribute runs natively on i OS, or if it runs in a Linux or AIX partition. It will run in some fashion or another on the i-based Power Systems box, and that’s what’s important.
“The reason we’re targeting the System i is because a lot of our customers already have System i,” Bilal says. “It’s a very robust, stable hardware, and they don’t want to get off of it, don’t want to go to a client-server environment.” So instead of forcing customers to move off the System i for a client-server platform, Gillani’s customers can stay with the System i, and run iDistribute in a Linux or AIX partition there.
Gillani currently does have customers running iDistribute on a System i, including a major Middle Eastern frozen chicken distributor; a large Mexican company is also looking to move iDistribute to a System i platform, Bilal says.
Gillani targets the System i industry strongholds of wholesale, distribution, and retail, which account for 78 percent of its installed base, Bilal says. The company also has customers in the telecommunications industry (AT&T and Verizon), defense (Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics), and real estate management. Compared to an equivalent SAP or Oracle ERP installation, iDistribute can save customers 15 to 35 percent off the cost of licenses, Bilal says.
For more information on Gillani’s iDistribute, visit www.gillani.com.