Posts by David Gillman
Many companies seeking to change their ERP application weigh the pros and cons, comparing the cost of change against the benefits of a new system. There are lots of hard costs in everyone’s numbers — hardware, software license, implementation, and customization charges add up quickly. Read more
We continue to add customers for our Qport Office utility. It is a software application which takes Query/400 produced output and automates the process of delivering the data to the business user’s Excel, Word and other applications. Read more
In machine learning, decision trees are a great algorithm family to work with business information. They are not the most precise nor are they considered cutting edge, but they are a first pass algorithm for many data scientists. Maybe in version two of a project, another algorithm family might create a better model for delivering a reliable model, but over most types of transaction or ERP data, decision trees as a class are where most data scientists start. Read more
Many machine learning and predictive processes struggle when they encounter missing data; entire records are bypassed if one field value is missing in the algorithm. For example, in a decision tree, if no value exists for the field where the tree splits, that record is useless because the algorithm cannot say what tree branch the record needs to follow. Read more
Someone messaged me to point out my title of the “Green” Revolution last week might also refer to IBM i and its heritage with green screen terminal interfaces. Read more
Good quality data is never a bad thing. For fueling analytic processes, it is a must. In order to maximize return on the investment in machine learning and predictive analytics, companies need clean data as a foundation for analysis. (My use of “green” in the title refers to making money for those outside the US.) Read more
There is a lot of confusion as to what companies can do with IBM Watson. At least Watson is architected so that any system can access it by processing via program calls over the Internet. Programmers need only to communicate input and receive output to make use of Watson-based analytics. Read more
In a recently completed survey of non-customers, we found that analysts who used Query/400 reported spending an average of 1.625 hours per day extracting, manipulating, and distributing data. We know from previous studies that people who move to NGS-IQ typically cut the time they spend on these tasks by approximately 50%. Read more
While it’s unlikely that many companies will store their IoT device messages in the IBM i environment, it's easy to imagine most IBM i customers having systems (maybe cloud based) that store IoT message streams alongside their DB2 on i/ERP database. Read more
I am not the only one to say it – business intelligence is integral to enterprise resource planning.
ERP does a great job of working with individual items, transaction, orders, and so on. Getting aggregate views is generally done in current generation ERP applications, but older versions usually lack the cool, built-in reporting features (often marketed as “analytics” by ERP vendors). Read more
The item file is seemingly a simple file. Use the item number the same way as on sales orders along with the human readable description and maybe a few other fields such as color, weight, and so on. Throw in a few department or categories, too, to make summarizing easier and more meaningful to businesspeople. Read more
In my last blog entry, I misspoke. I said there were two main entities – customers and orders – on which sales departments base their reporting. While true, the real world is a little less clear. Read more
For a long, long time NGS has worked with customers who have sales related data tied up in their ERP system without easy ways to access and summarize it. Their CRM system (using that term loosely for many companies) does not interface well with the ERP data. Read more
Tired of stupid buzzwords made up by marketing departments or super technical people who think everyone should know all their esoteric acronyms? Read more
Interested in knowing how IBM works through the partner channel? It isn’t always straightforward for veterans of the IBM AS/400 to IBM i market. Read more
NGS has customers in virtually every industry out there, and we certainly have our share of manufacturing and distribution customers. One increasing trend we have seen is the public display of metrics that monitor operations. Read more
Every industry has its inside language that only the inner core understands. Quite possibly, IT is more that way than most other company departments. Within IT, vendor marketing departments come up with new terms constantly. A lot of these terms can be annoying to seasoned professionals. Read more
Navigating IBM software and hardware maintenance programs is not easy. While some things change, other parts of IBM support stay the same. Keeping up with the changes can be time consuming and is usually something that keeps dropping down the task list for most IBM i IT people. Read more
New terms come up all the time for IT people. A really interesting new one is “Data Science” and its corresponding job title, “Data Scientist.”
A month ago, I did a video on data science, based on my background, education, and work in this area. There is not much in the video about the IBM i, but it is still one IBM i IT people should view. Read more
Most IT people have to interact with people from some other department in the company. And for most IT people writing reports from IBM i data, this interaction probably happens on a higher than average basis. Writing reports and creating views of data useful to business people requires communicating with others in relevant departments. Read more
NGS has customers that have moved their IBM i operations to outside data centers. Most seem to start with simply co-locating their server into data centers. Some go an extra step and move their IBM i processing from their own hardware to a partner's server in a partition or virtual machine. Essentially, they use a cloud service to provide the processing previously done by their on premise servers. Read more
Personnel changes happen more often than technology at many companies. If your company has changed IT personnel from experienced IBM i people to IT people who have little background on the platform, watch this video. Afterwards, IT professionals new to IBM i will come away with a deep background and an understanding of key IBM i concepts. Watch this short video for some ideas to stimulate the discussion in your enterprise.
ERP systems are the core of your company's operation. They reflect your unique business processes, capture your most valuable data, and represent a multi-million dollar investment over many years. There will always be plenty of people eager to tell you it's time for a new ERP system, but in many cases you can dramatically improve and extend the life of your current ERP system by making a modest investment in modern business intelligence and reporting software. Watch this short video for some ideas to stimulate the discussion in your enterprise.
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