'Firms squeezing legacy systems for value'

Companies are determined to get more value out of what IT they have, says a legacy system integration specialist.

Companies are determined to get more value out of what IT they have, says a legacy system integration specialist.

After the turmoil of centralised processing yielding to client-server, the ERP promise and the move to thin clients and web-enablement, IT managers have slowed down the frenetic technology update and are asking for more productivity out of the platforms they have, says Kristin Munger, visiting market manager for Seattle-based WRQ.

A 2001 Gartner survey on predicted IT expenditure for this year found that 75% of a flattening IT budget worldwide would be spent on existing systems, she says.

WRQ’s product, Reflection, provides access to legacy systems via Windows desktops, web browsers or Unix emulation. Such software allows a wider and more economical use of applications by allowing them to be used more easily and securely from a remote location, and allowing all technical support and software upgrade to be centralised.

Munger says.

The web browser version of Reflection, whose key competition is IBM’s Host-on-Demand, has only one New Zealand user to date and that site is “not referenceable”, says WRQ Australia-NZ general manager Audrey Lyons. The non-web version has a number of local users, including banks, energy companies and telcos, Lyons says.

The just-released version 5 of the web product adds interfaces to a range of the major directory systems, such as Microsoft’s Active Directory and Novell’s NDS. It also implements authentication and user authorisation, so the applications a user can access can be defined in advance. Previously, the product’s security relied primarily on encryption, Munger says.

With the help of a GUI front-end, Reflection can shield the user unaccustomed to green screens from the complexities of native access to legacy applications, while making the green-screen environment available for those who wish to use it. Keyboard mapping is provided to ensure the keys of a PC are where a seasoned dumb-terminal operator expects to find them.

There is evidently still some difficulty in convincing prospects to risk change on the promise of a cost-saving and convenience boost. Although IBM’s product is the market leader, Munger says, “our biggest competitor is not Host on Demand; it’s whatever you’re running today that’s working”.

WRQ’s local agent is InternConnect, a Datacom subsidiary.

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Tags legacy systems

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