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Data Access? Meet Managers and Analysts Where They Are

Posted on June 18, 2024 by Bill Langston

The reporting and analytics software marketplace is mature. Historically, business intelligence software vendors designed their solutions to address every step of the data extraction, transformation, and presentation process. As a result, many applications became increasingly complicated and challenging to deploy. Today, most IBM i customers already have several data analysis and visualization tools in place. Users simply want to import clean, aggregated, and formatted slices of data into those familiar tools.

The complexity and scale of your IBM Db2 on i transaction processing database can be overwhelming to business users. SQL Views can help, but even when some staff members have SQL skills, the best approach is an IBM i-based solution that shines at data extraction and preparation and can distribute output files in the most useful formats. It shouldn't require SQL skills or attempt to duplicate the functionality of Microsoft Excel, Power BI, and other widely used tools. This complementary view of meeting users where they are drives NGS’s development priorities.

Posted in Education | Comments

Planning Your Exit from IBM DB2 Web Query

Posted on March 22, 2024 by Teresa Moy

NGS WebcastIBM’s decision to drop DB2 Web Query caught customers by surprise. But as IBM said in their announcement letter, there are alternative solutions. We invite you to learn about ours: NGS-IQ.

This presentation (recorded March 20, 2024) will help you evaluate the one we recommend: NGS-IQ. 60 minutes.

Posted in Education | Comments

Enterprise Reporting and Analytics
and Application Program Interfaces (APIs)

Posted on January 24, 2024 by Bill Langston

NGS WebcastAPIs have become the industry standard for trading partners and customers to share the data they need to efficiently collaborate and provide better service. The people who use your ERP software need access to the data APIs can provide.

Your IBM i team may not have experience writing programs that use the APIs your partners have made available to you. You may prefer to use the RPG language to develop and maintain the programs that connect to your partners’ APIs. And once you have those programs written, tested, and ready to put into production, it would be ideal if your enterprise reporting and business intelligence (BI) software could use them.

How can you bridge the gap? We believe that NGS-IQ and RPG API Express present an optimal solution for IBM i customers.

NGS-IQ is our IBM i reporting and BI solution. It lets you integrate custom API program execution into query processing so you can create and deliver comprehensive reports as Excel sheets, Web pages, multidimensional models, Adobe PDFs, and more.

Kato Integrations’ RPG API Express provides a library of commands and subprocedures designed to simplify and streamline RPG-based API development. It generates JSON and XML subprocedures; enables you to develop programs using a unified API of connections functions; and leverage CCSID conversion, MD5 and SHA hashing, and Base64 encoding and decoding.

NGS is hosting a free, one-hour webinar with Kato Integrations on Thursday, February 15, 2024, 11am Pacific/1pm Central. We encourage everyone exploring APIs on IBM i to attend.  Registration is required. If you can’t attend live, please register and we will send you a link to the on-demand playback as soon as it's online.

Posted in Education | Comments

IBM DB2 Web Query Security Bulletin, January 2, 2024

Posted on January 8, 2024 by Bill Langston

Just as you were returning to work to begin the new year, IBM published a security bulletin, alerting DB2 Web Query customers that the software is "vulnerable to a remote attacker bypassing security restrictions or executing arbitrary code, to a local authenticated attacker obtaining sensitive information, or to denial of service."

The security bulletin only references release 2.4.0 of the now withdrawn DB2 Web Query software, but we suspect that is only because IBM doesn't test unsupported releases. We believe the security vulnerabilities listed in the bulletin also exist in release 2.3.0 and prior releases.

This news puts DB2 Web Query customers in an uncomfortable position. Since the software is no longer marketed by IBM, IBM will not let you extend your software maintenance beyond the current term; they have recommended customers look for an alternative solution.

If you're running DB2 Web Query release 2.4.0 and can't stop using the software immediately, you should heed IBM’s warnings and apply the Program Temporary Fixes (PTF’s) as soon as possible. If you're like many DB2 Web Query customers who are running an earlier release, you have a couple options:

We think you should treat this security bulletin as justification for your company to prioritize replacing DB2 Web Query as soon as possible.

NGS specializes in IBM i business intelligence (BI) and reporting. Unlike IBM and many of our competitors, our development and technical support resources aren't divided across product lines and platforms. Our livelihood depends on our ability to help you use our software successfully over the long term.

We welcome you to begin your search for an IBM DB2 Web Query alternative by watching the on demand video, "Planning Your Exit from IBM DB2 Web Query", scheduling a conference call with our team, and requesting a private web demo of NGS-IQ.

Posted in IBM i Marketplace | Comments

IBM Withdraws DB2 Web Query:
Software Maintenance Can't Be Renewed or Extended

Posted on October 17, 2023 by Bill Langston

On October 10, 2023, IBM surprised many IBM i customers by announcing the immediate termination of all DB2 Web Query marketing, which covers all DB2 Web Query modules and licenses. They also said they wouldn't offer customers software maintenance beyond each customer’s current term. So for most companies, technical support and program updates would end in the next year or two. IBM’s announcement letter recommends companies look at alternative solutions.

This is a frustrating and unexpected dead end for companies that have implemented DB2 Web Query. While the software will continue to function, technical support may become less responsive over time as the most experienced IBM staff people are reassigned to higher priority projects or retire.

In our experience, DB2 Web Query customers fall into a few categories:

  1. Light users with a few queries used by a handful of staff members
  2. Moderate users with queries developed by an ISV, IBM consulting, or one staff member
  3. Advanced users with a substantial investment in DB2 Web Query consulting and staff resources, queries integrated into applications, graphical visualizations, and more

If your company is in the light to moderate use category, shifting to an alternative shouldn't be too hard. If you're one of the shops in the advanced category, you face a complex migration strategy. At this point, we haven't seen ibi (formerly known as Information Builders, Inc.) announce a migration service. While DB2 Web Query has often been described as an IBM i version of ibi’s WebFOCUS, migrations are normally time consuming and costly. Any ibi offering would most likely move customers to another platform. A key piece of your migration puzzle will be replacing proprietary DB2 Web Query meta data synonyms with SQL Views or some other interface.

Whichever category fits your company, we suggest you review alternatives while you still have IBM software maintenance. You're welcome to attend our upcoming webinar, “Planning Your Exit from DB2 Web Query”, on November 8, 2023.

Posted in IBM i Marketplace | Comments

Designing Dashboards for Different Needs and Users

Posted on August 25, 2023 by Teresa Moy

NGS WebcastWe often hear from NGS-IQ customers who want to develop dashboards. When we inquire about their needs, we quickly find that not everyone uses the term "dashboard" to mean the same thing.

During this presentation (recorded August 17, 2023), we'll show different types of output you can produce with NGS-IQ to satisfy different dashboard needs:

45 minutes.

Posted in Education | Comments

Data Visualization and Analytics with NGS-IQ and Microsoft Power BI

Posted on May 30, 2023 by Teresa Moy

IBM i 2022 Announcements RevisitedMicrosoft Power BI is a great data visualization and analytics solution, but your operational dashboards and insights are only as good as the data your analysts can draw from your IBM i datbase.

Watch this presentation and learn how NGS-IQ can simplify and automate the cleansing, transformation, and delivery of accurate, timely data to Power BI. 50 minutes.

Posted in Education | Comments

Mastering Run-Time Prompting, Translating Data Values, and Serving Data to Microsoft Power BI Users

Posted on April 21, 2023 by Teresa Moy

NGS WebcastIn this presentation for NGS-IQ users (recorded April 13, 2023), we’ll cover:

60 minutes.

Posted in Education | Comments

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