App Dev Team Sees Innovation Rewarded
May 19, 2014 Dan Burger
In spite of doubt and being far short of knowing all the answers, innovators are motivated to seek improvements. They have the ability to move forward despite obstacles and figure out the unexpected things that threaten to derail ideas, plans, and implementations.
The spotlight doesn’t shine brightly on innovation in business computing. Good work, however, does get recognized. The annual Innovation Award co-sponsored by IBM and COMMON accomplishes this without a great deal of fanfare, but that does not diminish the importance.
The 2014 Innovation Award winner is International Copyright Enterprise, better known as ICE Services. The application development team, focused on process automation, accomplished two goals that make sense to any business anywhere. It increased efficiency and profitability. That’s the kind of innovation that gets the attention of executive management. The project team used a combination of modern RPG on the backend and PHP on the front end to create the Web interfaces aimed at improving the management of royalties and license payments.
Mats Lidström, chief technical architect at ICE Services, described the project as an application originating from a blank sheet of paper and a newly created centralized database. The new application integrates with existing customer applications and the new database was populated with data from two older databases.
“The primary goal was to produce an advanced, flexible, cost-efficient and future-proof central solution that is able to handle the complex structure of music documentation in a changing world where music now is being used in a completely new way with new services provided and consumed using the Internet as a base, Lidström explained.
ICE Services invested in this project so that existing customers could reach new markets and new customers would be attracted to ICE Services. The solution also automated processes that were previously manual.
“With a user friendly browser-based user interface, we can easily make it available to multiple customers in different countries from a centralized server,” Lidström says. “The solution needs a minimum of IT operation and can easily scale without making the infrastructure more complex. We have also been able to take advantage of the technical inventions that have been implemented both on the IBM Power and the IBM i sides.”
The IBM i operating system provided most of the components for this project, but Lidström also noted the importance of several third-party vendors.
Zend Technologies provided Zend Server and Zend Studio for the PHP-based user interface. Version control from ARCAD Software is part of the app dev environment. For the automated FTP handling, GoAnywhere Director and Services were purchased from Linoma Software.
ICE Services also offers customers the option of having local nodes/servers of the ICE application at the customer side. It uses Maxava to replicate data in real time from its central database to the nodes. Currently there are nodes in England and Denmark.
ICE Services received recognition at the COMMON 2014 Annual Meeting and Exposition. It was presented an engraved Tiffany crystal award and also received a complimentary one-year membership to COMMON, five complimentary registrations to COMMON’s 2014 Annual Meeting and Exposition, and one complimentary registration to the COMMON IT Executive Conference.
Above and beyond the awards and rewards, the most satisfying compensation is the sense of accomplishment that comes from making a substantial business contribution and the understanding that innovation is its own reward.