Insurer Enjoys ‘Profound’ Transition of 5250 App
February 4, 2014 Alex Woodie
In the 1990s, the large Caribbean insurance company Guardian General Insurance Limited started running an insurance administration application on its AS/400. Since then, the application has run admirably, and the company grew. However, in recent years, the system’s 5250 green-screen interface had become a major obstacle to productivity. Thanks to a pair of modernization solutions from Profound Logic, employees now access the system from a Web-based interface.
Profound recently posted a case study on the success that Guardian General had with its Genie and Profound UI products. But success was not a guaranteed outcome. Not only was it hard training new users on the application, but it was also becoming difficult to get RPG programmers who were willing to work on such an outdated-looking system. That raised the question of whether the property and casualty insurer was better off ditching the whole “legacy” system–including application code and IBM i platform–in favor of something newer and better looking.
That would have been a big mistake, says David Esdale, application system consultant at Guardian General. “We wanted to continue to use our proven and powerful system, which meets the needs of the organization,” he says in Profound’s case study. “Rewriting or replacing it with another system mistakenly viewed by some as ‘more modern’ would have been risky and very expensive.”
Instead, the company tapped a pair of Profound products to help it modernize the application. Esdale and his group of seven developers got started with Genie, an on-the-fly Webfacing system that converts the 5250 data stream into HTML screens. That allowed Guardian General to realize a relatively quick and easy modernization success, according to the case study.
Next, the company aimed to completely separate itself from the 5250 data stream with Profound UI, which uses RPG Open Access to allow IBM i applications to serve modern Web and mobile interfaces. Genie and Profound UI are designed to work together, so transitioning from one product to the next was “very easy,” Esdale says.
Today, 650 users in 21 Caribbean countries use the WebSTAR system to get P&C insurance quotes, write policies, and process claims for their clients. The company is better situated with the new application. Recruiting technical staff is easier and user training time has been reduced by more than 20 percent, according to Esdale.
“Now that we’re not restricted to 24×80, we have more space to be creative with how users interact with the application,” he says in the case study. Users can work with the WebSTAR system as they would any Windows-type application, and many of them have no idea that they’re using an application that runs on the IBM i!”
To read the entire case study on Profound’s website, go to www.profoundlogic.com/case_studies/GuardianGeneral.pdf.