Db2 Web Query Customers Left In The Lurch
October 23, 2023 Alex Woodie
The sudden collapse of the OEM agreement between IBM and TIBCO for Db2 Web Query has left users of the product in a difficult position. Where will they get technical support, updates, and fixes? Should they abandon the software? Can they sue somebody if something happens to their systems?
These are some of the questions that IBM i shops who adopted Db2 Web Query are asking themselves in the wake of IBM’s stunning October 10 announcement to kill off the product. Effectively immediately, IBM stopped marketing and selling the IBM i product, which was an OEM version of Information Builder’s WebFOCUS BI and analytics tool that has been owned by TIBCO Software for several years. IBM also stopped customers from being able to order or renew software maintenance contracts for the product.
The surprise ending for Db2 Web Query left IBM i customers shocked and bewildered. One of the impacted customers is Total Biz Fulfillment (TBF), a Maryland-based company that provides an array of logistics, back-office, and fulfillment services for about 50 manufacturers.
TBF adopted Db2 Web Query in 2014 to help its internal employees better analyze data contained in its core IBM i applications and databases. “We settled on Db2 WebQuery for i, not the least expensive solution, but what we thought was the best solution,” TBF IT director Greg Wilburn says.
Wilburn shared some details of the investment TBF has made in the software. The company paid IBM about $30,000 upfront to license and implement the software on its P05 machine. It currently is paying $4,400 per year for maintenance, he says.
The software has served TBF well. Over the past nine years, it has created hundreds of reports and dashboards. In addition to the internal users, TBF exposes Db2 Web Query reports to approximately 170 external users, about a third of whom use it daily, Wilburn says.
“Db2 WebQuery is an integral part of daily operations throughout our company, and the only source of real-time information for our clients,” he says. “I could not begin to estimate the investment in time – training, creating metadata, reports, dashboards, and charts.”
The swift ending of Db2 Web Query caught the entire community of users completely off guard.
“The IBM announcement blind-sided every Db2 WebQuery customer,” Wilburn tells IT Jungle. “Ending support for a product with no forewarning, and no recommended path is unlike anything I have ever seen from IBM. We will most likely look elsewhere for a solution to replace Db2 Web Query.”
Another IBM i shop trying to figure out a path forward in the post-Db2 Web Query age is Littleton Coin, a New Hampshire-based company that buys and sells rare and commemorative American coins.
According to director of information technology Ken Meade, the company has invested considerable sums into the software, which is used on a daily basis.
“We only have about seven people that develop Web queries, but different people from all parts of our business from purchasing, sales, customer service, credit, and finance use these queries on a daily basis for reporting as well as gathering info for business processes,” Meade tells us. “We also trigger scheduled emails to users to reduce their time looking for info. Hard to give true number of users.”
Db2 Web Query was already implemented at Littleton Coin when Meade joined the company eight years ago, but he knows the investment has been substantial.
“We’ve put a lot into it,” he says. “We paid a consultant to build out a pretty complex reporting tool for our finance department. That’s why it’s so frustrating.”
“I’m not a happy camper,” Meade continues. “We have a lot of our business processes built around this product, and with this withdrawal I’m not sure what I’ll do.”
As customers scramble to come up with a plan, IBM and TIBCO have remained mostly silent. Linda Hirsch, an IBM product manager, stated in a message to partners that “Details on the IBM Db2 Web Query for i support strategy will be forthcoming.”
IT Jungle has requested more information from IBM and TIBCO about possible ways they can help Db2 Web Query customers going forward, so stay tuned for more info.