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Get Down to E-business

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Midrange Computing has been telling you a lot about e-business lately. It should be clear by now that you must get on board if you want to compete. We’ve given you tools to make informed decisions that will launch you toward success. That’s our job. Giving you tools for success is IBM’s job, too. And Big Blue has tackled that challenge by transforming the reliable, robust AS/400 into a premier platform for e-business.

IBM’s dedication to ensuring your smooth transition into e-business was especially evident in July. The Solutions ’99 IBM Technical Developer Conference focused on e- business, offering sessions by people who develop the tools and technologies that drive it. IBM also announced an initiative to train and certify individuals in developing and selling e- business solutions. However, the biggest news was the announcement of IBM’s first application-specific server, the AS/400e Dedicated Server for Domino, which can perform as a Web server. (Learn more about this announcement on page 19.)

But perhaps the most significant thing IBM has done for you has been to create the Application Framework for e-business. This framework gives you a solid foundation on which to build, run, manage, and maintain an e-business site.

E-business is much more than e-commerce. To take full advantage of e-business opportunities, you must leverage your company’s information by transforming your core business processes. To do that, you must build a secure, dynamic Web site that includes everything from workflow to line-of-business applications. E-business can save you time and money by connecting every aspect of your business in real-time collaboration.

IBM is aware of your challenges and concerns as you embark on this new journey into e-business. That’s why the Framework is designed the way it is. It’s standards-based. In today’s world, you need the open standards of Java, Extensible Markup Language (XML), TCP/IP, and Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) so you can do business across all platforms, including the AS/400, Windows NT, Linux, UNIX, and OS/390. The Framework is also server-centric. No business with its eye on the bottom line wastes resources on multiple upgrades and deployments. Of course, any viable e-business solution must be scalable as well. All indicators point toward a continuing rise in e- business, so growth needs to be part of the plan. But what good would this plan be if it didn’t allow you to use your existing systems? Today, you can quickly and economically develop and deploy e-business solutions by extending the applications you already have.

IBM divides its Application Framework into three sections: development tools and components, application servers and integration software, and secure network and management software.

The Framework starts with a robust and comprehensive set of development tools and reusable application components. VisualAge is a powerful repository-based visual development environment that allows you to add functionality to existing applications. With Notes Designer for Domino (a.k.a. Domino Designer), you get the objected-oriented (OO) utensils and customizable templates you need to build collaborative Web sites. Full-text search, workflow, and content management capabilities are already built in, and the Java support enables you to embed applets directly into Notes forms. WebSphere Studio’s integrated visual development toolset offers you the ease of wizards to create JavaBeans, servlets, and database queries and includes a project organizer and source control system, allowing easy site management and maintenance. Lotus e-Suite adds another element of strength to IBM’s Application Framework. You can use this complete set of Java-based business productivity applets and utilities as modular building blocks to create dynamic, interactive Web pages. And SanFrancisco’s reusable Java-based components and frameworks include application-specific components for core business processes as well as hundreds of common business objects.

The Framework’s application and database servers and integration software are designed to leverage your existing IT investments. Domino’s strength is in messaging, workflow, and collaboration. WebSphere provides extensibility, performance, security, availability, and scalability for your query and transaction-intensive e-business applications. The new, scalable DB2/UDB ensures secure access to legacy data. And you can count on the oh-so-compatible CICS to manage high-volume transactions and large numbers of users.

For network security, IBM offers its SecureWay family of products. SecureWay locates, connects, and secures every user and application involved in any e-business transaction. For heterogeneous system management, there’s Tivoli, a leading supplier of open, cross-platform management solutions.

There you have it. IBM has provided all the hardware and software you need to launch a successful e-business. The rest is up to you. To get a better idea of everything the Application Framework for e-business can do for you, visit www.software.ibm.com/ebusiness/.

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