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Microsoft 365 and IBM Db2 on i

Posted on June 28, 2022 by Bill Langston

BI on IBM i When Microsoft delivers a new way to do something, it often becomes an industry-standard practice - especially if it uses a feature of the Microsoft 365 (formerly known as Office 365) product line. The company introduced Power Query as an add-in to Excel in 2010. From there, Microsoft continued to improve and incorporate this technology:

Power Query can access a variety of common data sources through a proprietary Microsoft scripting language called M (short for "mashup"). When you use the Power Query Editor in an Excel workbook to transform and load data, an M script is embedded in the workbook.

So technically, a Microsoft 365 user can connect to Db2 on i through the IBM Access Client Solutions (ACS) ODBC driver. The ODBC driver is included in IBM ACS’ platform-specific package for Windows, and Microsoft’s architecture makes these assumptions:

But in practice, few Microsoft 365 users understand their company’s Db2 on i database well enough to join tables, select columns, and format the data they need. They often require extensive technical support which grows if you provide the software to more people.

If your company runs on IBM i and has Microsoft 365 users who need to see, visualize, and share operational data, we encourage you to watch our video where we discuss the challenges of using Power Query and present our NGS-IQ as a possible alternative.

Posted in Education | Comments

NGS-IQ Tips for All Types of Users

Posted on May 9, 2022 by Teresa Moy

BI on IBM iCheck out our webcast from April 27, where we discuss these topics:

Posted in Education | Comments

NGS-IQ: Reporting and Analytics for IBM i Users

Posted on March 28, 2022 by Teresa Moy

BI on IBM iIn this webcast, learn why so many IBM i customers choose NGS-IQ as their path forward from IBM Query/400 and alternative to Db2 Web Query or other solutions.

We cover the integration and end-user features of the software and show examples of NGS-IQ web reporting:

At the end of the video, we explain the terms of our 40th anniversary promotion.

Posted in Education | Comments

A Different Kind of Software Vulnerability:

Ukraine War, Armenia-Russia Alliance Demands New Thinking
About Offshore IT

Posted on March 3, 2022 by Bill Langston 

Hopefully you’ve eliminated your company’s Log4j risks and improved your security practices. Now, world events strongly point to a different security risk: dependence on offshore IT staffing and offshore software development in nations either at risk of attack or aligned with rogue nations.

You may be dependent on offshore resources even if you don’t have contracts or staff members overseas. Well-known software vendors, including some with applications that run on IBM i, have development teams in the Baltics, Ukraine, Armenia, and other at-risk countries. Until recently, the location of these resources may have seemed irrelevant. Now, it is something you may want to ask your vendors to disclose. It’s certainly something to weigh when evaluating new applications for your enterprise.

All NGS product development and technical support are located in the United States.

Additional Reading:

Posted in Enterprise Software | Comments

Discover the IBM i Ecosystem

Posted on January 10, 2022 by Bill Langston

BI on IBM iIBM i is a unique and proven enterprise computing platform. IBM announces software, operating system releases, technology refreshes, and new hardware periodically, but often the specific information you need to complete a task or explain a concept effectively isn’t in those announcement letters.

Fortunately, a very active, informal, global ecosystem of IBM i experts enjoy providing that type of in-depth assistance. Some of the best-known IBM i experts are IBM Business Partners, but many are volunteers who simply love sharing their knowledge. Whether it’s programmers helping others on the forum, talented teachers like Simon Hutchinson documenting SQL tips on the blog, Torbjörn Appehl updating news through his free, daily newsletter called “Built on Power,” or one of the many others, the IBM i ecosystem is there to help.

Regional user groups like OCEAN in Southern California, the Long Island System User Group, the Wisconsin Midrange Computer Professional Association, or a national user group like COMMON also contribute to the IBM i ecosystem (often at little or no cost).  

NGS maintains an IBM i resources page to help you locate the best IBM i websites, blogs, white papers, and user groups. As you begin 2022, we hope you’ll visit this resource page frequently to find the links to the best sites in the ever-changing IBM i ecosystem.

Posted in Education | Comments

BI on IBM i: The Door You Open Makes a Difference

Posted on December 14, 2021 by Teresa Moy

BI on IBM iThis webcast highlights NGS-IQ's advanced functions and a wide range of output formats and interfaces for various users - without the cost or complexity of many of today's best known BI solutions. We cover:

At the close of this video, we announce our special offer to celebrate NGS' 40th anniversary in 2022.

Webcast: Taking Advantage of NGS-IQ Date Functions
and IBM i Job Scheduling

Posted on November 22, 2021 by Teresa Moy

BI on IBM iCheck out this webcast about NGS-IQ’s many date functions to simplify date arithmetic, sorting, and record selection. Also, Russ Afton from Arbor Solutions explains IBM i’s built-in job scheduling features. The webinar includes tips for writing queries to show your company’s schedule and history to satisfy auditors and managers.

Posted in Education | Comments

Understanding the Capabilities
of Your IBM i Job Scheduling Utilities

Posted on September 29, 2021 by Bill Langston

BI on IBM iSince the earliest days of OS/400, job scheduling has been practiced in IBM i environments, its functionality improving in recent releases. And while you have a great collection of built-in job scheduling features at your disposal, you can do even more if you license the IBM i Advanced Job Scheduler or a third-party utility. This software may not be new—but over time, companies and staff members change, new releases are installed, and valuable features are forgotten or overlooked.

As a provider of IBM i query, reporting and analytics software, our staff is asked about job scheduling nearly every day. The topic arises so often we enlisted the help of an IBM i expert, Russ Afton of Arbor Solutions, to present an overview of the IBM i job scheduling features. In this webcast, we also discussed the job scheduling data collected and where to find it in Db2 on i so you can respond quickly if an auditor requests reports about your scheduling activity.

Of course, we’d like you to use NGS-IQ to generate those reports—our product works well with IBM and third-party job scheduling utilities. With the RUNIQ command, you can schedule jobs for processing on IBM i. Queries you want to output to Microsoft Office (Excel, Access, Word) and NGS’s Qport SmartView OLAP module can be scheduled by using NGS-IQ .iqp files with various Windows scheduling utilities.

Posted in Education | Comments

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