ASNA Touts Customer’s Success with RPG-to-.NET Conversion Tool
July 30, 2013 Alex Woodie
ASNA is talking up the recent awards won by its customer Retail Assist, the UK-based developer of multi-channel retail management software, as well as one of Retail Assist’s customers, which successfully implemented the browser-based, .NET version of its formerly RPG-only suite.
ASNA says that Retail Assist chose ASNA Monarch several years ago to modernize its RPG-based multi-channel retail management suite, called Merret. The application automates many tasks for the multi-channel retailer, including purchasing, warehousing, replenishment, inward and outward distribution, retail financials, planning, and CRM data capture.
Merret was originally developed to run on the AS/400, but Retail Assist wanted to be able to offer it to customers running on Windows servers as well. At the same time, the software company was looking for a way to modernize the application with Web-based GUIs, and move away from the reliance on 5250 green-screen interfaces.
ASNA assisted Retail Assist with migrating the core business logic in Merret from RPG to .NET. The work also involved ASNA Visual RPG (AVR), which enables Retail Assist developers to continue to develop and maintain the .NET version of the application in the familiar RPG syntax. It also included DataGate, the database access product from ASNA that allows converted .NET applications to access DB2/400.
The conversion and modernization work took just nine months, according to a case study of Retail Assist on the ASNA website. Today, Retail Assist gives customers the option of using either the IBM i-based version of Merret or using the Windows-based version.
Some of Retail Assist’s customers are making very good use of the .NET version, including Jacques Vert, the UK-based retailer of wedding outfit and special occasionwear. Jacques Vert was awarded the “Supply Chain Excellence” award at the recent Retail Week Technology Awards ceremony. Retail Assist also took home part of that award, and was also named “Company of the Year” at the Nottingham Post Business Awards 2013 ceremony.
“While the honor and credit for these two most recent awards belongs solely to Retail Assist, ASNA is very pleased to have played a small part in helping make the Merret application all that it is today,” ASNA CEO Carlos Valero says in a press release.
Nigel Illingworth, the CEO of Retail Assist, agrees with Valero. “The involvement of ASNA was an important element of the Merret core language development, and was key to the current success of Merret,” Illingworth says in a press release. “We are delighted with the recent award win, and of the multichannel and global trading capabilities Merret is now enabling for retailers such as Jacques Vert, Nutmeg at Morrisons, ASOS, Whistles, and many more.”