Welcome!

Websphere Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Carmen Gonzalez, Sanjeev Sharma, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Java, Websphere

Java: Article

IBM WebSphere Portal and HATS

Helping to Improve User Productivity and Satisfaction

Whatever the industry or company size, everyday business processes require access to information resources such as data, applications and people. Providing access to all necessary information resources in a cohesive and efficient manner can play a large part in improving employee productivity, building successful relationships with partners and improving customer satisfaction.

IBM WebSphere Portal supplies an infrastructure to pull together access to information resources with a variety of formats. Access to all necessary data, applications and people can be supplied in a single Web browser interface. For a given process, access can be supplied to all the resources required to complete the process. Existing data and applications can be leveraged and even integrated at the user’s screen. Content can be personalized based on a particular user’s role, and information overload can be minimized.
 
Many information resources are still maintained by older suites of software that have been purchased or developed over many years. Often, these software suites include character-based, green-screen applications running on IBM eServer iSeries or zSeries platforms. When developing a portal solution to pull together access to different information resources, it is likely that one or more of the required resources will be a green-screen application. The ability for a company to modernize and selectively and securely expand access to these green-screen applications in a portal environment can be a major requirement in creating a comprehensive portal solution for employees, partners, and customers.

IBM WebSphere Host Access Transformation Services (HATS) provides tools to help quickly build portal-accessible Web applications from existing green-screen applications without having to change any code in the existing applications. With HATS, it is possible to create an easier-to-use graphical user interface (GUI) for green-screen applications. Web services can also be created that provide standard programming interfaces to business logic and transactions contained within your green-screen applications. By creating Web graphical user interfaces or Web services programming interfaces for green-screen applications, HATS can help provide a comprehensive WebSphere Portal solution that will improve employee productivity, collaboration with partners and customer satisfaction.  

The Business Need

Basic needs common to running any business include providing efficient means of obtaining information by employees, partners, suppliers, distributors and customers. Employees must have easy access to all necessary information to be productive performing both job assignments and internal company processes such as human resource activities. Partners, suppliers and distributors must be able to easily collaborate with the company, access information necessary to maintain inventory levels and ship and receive parts or finished products. Customers must conveniently access information with appropriate security protection to be able to research, order, receive and pay for products and services. The more efficiently information can be shared with these groups, the more productive and satisfied each group will be while interacting with the company.

In addition, as the requirements of managing the business change, existing processes must be changed and possibly integrated with other, newer processes. To keep the cost of change low, processes must be made more flexible and re-usable as components within a business system.

The Challenge

Businesses have long used information technology (IT) systems to help improve employee productivity, collaboration with partners, suppliers and distributors, and responsiveness to customers. Systems have been built to maintain data and transactions necessary for doing business with external users and for managing internal processes. Over the years, these systems have been enhanced and improved to the point where today they provide a very stable core of mission-critical applications. However, as technology has changed over time, formats and methods of access to information have changed. So, access to varied types of information resources may be necessary to complete a particular process.   

A key factor in improving efficiencies while interacting with employees and external users is to provide a single entry point and easy access to the information resources necessary to complete business processes based on the role of the end user.  Employees can become more productive with access to all they need supplied to them in a single Web browser interface. External users can be given security-rich, role-based access to all the information they need to interact with the company and can do so at their own convenience without relying on trained customer service representatives.  

In many cases, the data and transactions necessary to perform a process are maintained in applications running on iSeries or zSeries platforms. Often, the only access to these applications is through the traditional green-screen interface.  Although these applications are very stable and perform well, the green-screen interface is foreign and difficult to use for many users. This interface is also not typically accessible by untrained employees or external users. To give new users access these applications would require Internet access, more security and a much easier interface than the green-screen interface provides. So, either the applications need to be rewritten or the access and interfaces to them need to be improved.

Mission-critical green-screen applications have been developed and tailored over many years.  Time, effort and resources have been invested fine-tuning them to achieve a high level of performance and reliability.  Rewriting or replacing these applications can be expensive and perhaps cost-prohibitive. Also, rewriting an existing application often increases risk in terms of stability.

The key to improving access for employees and external users, quickly and with less risk, is to improve the user interface to existing green-screen applications and make required information and transactions Web accessible without changing the applications themselves.
The Solution

WebSphere Portal along with HATS has helped many businesses meet these needs.
WebSphere Portal can provide employees, partners and customers with a security-rich, single entry point and easy access to all the information resources they need. It is possible to customize what information you provide based on the role of the end user.  Support for a credential vault makes it possible to simplify the process for end users of signing on to multiple applications. Different portal pages can be supplied to help organize the tasks and processes that are made available.

Portlets, the visible active components on a portal page, are used to provide access to different information resources. They help you control the flow and display of information for the end user. The click-to-action (C2A) feature allows you to share data between portlets to integrate data and processes between different information resources. By providing users with cohesive and efficient access to all the information they need in a Web browser interface, you can help improve employee productivity, build successful relationships with partners and develop customer loyalty.

And, if a portal solution must include access to mission-critical green-screen applications, HATS makes it possible to quickly and easily create portlets that will provide the necessary access. With HATS, a Web-like look and feel can be created for your mission-critical green-screen applications without changing the applications themselves. An easy-to-use portlet interface can also be created that makes only necessary functions available to employees or external users and hides the rest. This is especially important in a portal environment where the screen space is shared by many portlets.

More Stories By Alisa Morse

Alisa Morse serves as the architect for the HATS product team, and was the HATS version 6 Chief Programmer. She has over 20 years of software development experience in a range of Networking products such as WebSphere Host Publisher, Personal Communications, and Communications Server. She works in IBM Software Group, in Research Triangle Park, NC.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
JDJ News Desk 08/09/06 01:05:09 PM EDT

Whatever the industry or company size, everyday business processes require access to information resources such as data, applications and people. Providing access to all necessary information resources in a cohesive and efficient manner can play a large part in improving employee productivity, building successful relationships with partners and improving customer satisfaction.

@ThingsExpo Stories
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the real benefits to focus on, how to understand the requirements of a successful solution, the flow of ...

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

Focused on this fast-growing market’s needs, Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation (Nasdaq: VTSS), a leading provider of IC solutions to advance "Ethernet Everywhere" in Carrier, Enterprise and Internet of Things (IoT) networks, introduced its IStaX™ software (VSC6815SDK), a robust protocol stack to simplify deployment and management of Industrial-IoT network applications such as Industrial Ethernet switching, surveillance, video distribution, LCD signage, intelligent sensors, and metering equipment. Leveraging technologies proven in the Carrier and Enterprise markets, IStaX is designed to work ac...
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
C-Labs LLC, a leading provider of remote and mobile access for the Internet of Things (IoT), announced the appointment of John Traynor to the position of chief operating officer. Previously a strategic advisor to the firm, Mr. Traynor will now oversee sales, marketing, finance, and operations. Mr. Traynor is based out of the C-Labs office in Redmond, Washington. He reports to Chris Muench, Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Traynor brings valuable business leadership and technology industry expertise to C-Labs. With over 30 years' experience in the high-tech sector, John Traynor has held numerous...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world. The next @ThingsExpo will take place November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, in Santa Clara, California. Since its launch in 2008, Cloud Expo TV commercials have been aired and CNBC, Fox News Network, and Bloomberg TV. Please enjoy our 2014 commercial.
From a software development perspective IoT is about programming "things," about connecting them with each other or integrating them with existing applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Yakov Fain, co-founder of Farata Systems and SuranceBay, will show you how small IoT-enabled devices from multiple manufacturers can be integrated into the workflow of an enterprise application. This is a practical demo of building a framework and components in HTML/Java/Mobile technologies to serve as a platform that can integrate new devices as they become available on the market.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Located in booth #314, the Bsquare team will present DataV demos and discuss how DataV will help customers put their data to work to improve business outcomes. DataV is unlocking new initiatives across a wide landscape of customers in industries such as industrial manufacturing, transportation, retail and mobile. The solution is designed to complement a new project start or help to enrich an existing machine investment.