Portal-Based Logon Consolidation
Some Web-services development tools are being marketed for a different purpose: consolidating logons and application access for users. In typical mainframe environments, multiple third-party applications are used throughout the day, and in many call centers, employees spend valuable telephone time exiting some applications and re-entering others, just to complete a single, unanticipated customer task.
"The whole single-sign-on, user authority, common directory challenge is a growing problem [for which] there aren't any quick and easy answers," analyst Ulrich says.
David Holmes, executive VP of Jacada Ltd., a provider of Web-services-enablement software, says his company's Interface Server product can create front-end applications that interface directly with portals to create a single look and feel "to mimic the desktop application or the portal and, at the same time, change the workflow. So if, as a user, I used to have to traverse through 15 or 20 screens to accomplish a specific task, I can actually reengineer that workflow so that I only enter information in two or three screens."
For one call-center customer facing a 40% annual turnover rate, operators were spending up to 12 weeks to learn their application and eight weeks on top of that to achieve full productivity, Holmes says. An Integrator-based portal was able to slash that time and reduce training costs by 40%. Again, this positively impacts both the administration and operations elements of TCO reduction.
Managing the mainframe environment is no longer about migrating to a smaller platform and less and less about camouflaging a tired legacy investment. The new management framework for mainframe computing is adaptation. As mainframes become more flexible platforms, companies may find themselves leveraging their legacy investments in untraditional ways, adapting them to serve new purposes in a changing IT landscape.