Click here to close now.

Welcome!

IBM Cloud Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, XebiaLabs Blog, John Wetherill

Related Topics: Java IoT, IBM Cloud

Java IoT: 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
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it!
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC 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. BMC delivers software solutions that help IT transform digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive business advantage. BMC has worked with thousands of leading companies to create and deliver powerful IT management services. From mainframe to cloud to mobile, BMC pairs high-speed digital innovation with robust IT industrialization – allowing customers to provide amazing user experiences with optimized IT per...
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "First Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. The “Second Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place November 3-5, 2015, at Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
ThingsExpo New York is offering a limited time FREE "Expo Plus" registration option in New York. On site registration price of $1,95 will be set to 'free' for delegates who register during special offer. To take advantage of this opportunity, attendees can use the coupon code, and secure their registration to attend all keynotes, ThingsExpo sessions, expo floor, and SYS-CON.tv power panels. Special FREE registration givess access to all DevOps, Containers and Microservices sessions as well. Registration page is located at the ThingsExpo site.
The only place to be Nov 3-5 is Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo | DevOps Summit 2015 West at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT, Big Data and DevOps companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Whether...
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
“Connect2Me is basically a game changer in the IoT industry. We have created IoT connecter middleware that can enable a connection to any kind of device," explained Yasser Khan, CTO of Connect2Me, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...
Health care systems across the globe are under enormous strain, as facilities reach capacity and costs continue to rise. M2M and the Internet of Things have the potential to transform the industry through connected health solutions that can make care more efficient while reducing costs. In fact, Vodafone's annual M2M Barometer Report forecasts M2M applications rising to 57 percent in health care and life sciences by 2016. Lively is one of Vodafone's health care partners, whose solutions enable older adults to live independent lives while staying connected to loved ones. M2M will continue to gr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "First Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. The “Second Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place November 3-5, 2015, at Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo New York is offering a limited time FREE "Expo Plus" registration option in New York. On site registration price of $1,95 will be set to 'free' for delegates who register during special offer. To take advantage of this opportunity, attendees can use the coupon code, and secure their registration to attend all keynotes, @DevOpsSummit sessions at Cloud Expo, expo floor, and SYS-CON.tv power panels. Special FREE registration givess access to all Containers and Microservices sessions. Registration page is located at the DevOps Summit site. Your DevOps Summit registratio...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MediaTek Labs will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MediaTek Labs is a global ecosystem initiative supporting Wearables and Internet of Things device creation, application development, and services based around MediaTek chipset offerings. Developers can use the MediaTek LinkIt™ ONE development platform and the LinkIt ONE HDK to easily access the features and functions of the MediaTek MT2502 System on a Chip (SoC), with the goal of creating the next generation of MediaTek p...
Imagine a world where targeting, attribution, and analytics are just as intrinsic to the physical world as they currently are to display advertising. Advances in technologies and changes in consumer behavior have opened the door to a whole new category of personalized marketing experience based on direct interactions with products. The products themselves now have a voice. What will they say? Who will control it? And what does it take for brands to win in this new world? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zack Bennett, Vice President of Customer Success at EVRYTHNG, will answer these questions a...
The basic integration architecture, as defined by ESBs, hasn’t changed for more than a decade. Most cloud integration providers still rely on an ESB architecture and their proprietary connectors. As a result, enterprise integration projects suffer from constraints of availability and reliability of these connectors that are not re-usable across other integration vendors. However, the rapid adoption of APIs and almost ubiquitous availability of APIs amongst most SaaS and Cloud applications are rapidly redefining traditional integration approaches and their reliance on proprietary connectors. ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that O'Reilly Media has been named “Media 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 City, NY. O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participa...
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.