In October 1999, TeamQuest Corporation introduced TeamQuest Direct, a formal program that allows Unisys platform users to purchase software maintenance and licenses directly from TeamQuest. The philosophy behind the TeamQuest Direct concept was to provide one stop for software (including new releases), service and support. Here are the stories of two companies’ experiences with TeamQuest.
Florida Department of Revenue Avoids Taxing Situations
Ron Schmetzer is a systems programming administrator with the Florida Department of Revenue. He has been with the department for 22 years and using TeamQuest products on its Unisys 2200 system for almost as long: "We were using TeamQuest products before they were even designated as TeamQuest products," maintains Schmetzer.
The Florida Department of Revenue employs about 5,500 people and is responsible for handling tax collections for the state, including retail sales tax, corporate income tax and intangible taxes on stocks and bonds. The Department also coordinates the collection of property taxes, which is handled by the state’s individual counties.
The mainframe computer system Schmetzer manages from the Department’s data processing control center performs all of the number crunching for the state’s tax collections. "We have major applications databases for just about each major tax," Schmetzer says. "Each database is used for generating returns and processing them, as well as auditing functions." In other words, all of the money paid to the state through taxes is handled by this system when it first enters the Department. If the system crashes or malfunctions, it could directly impact the livelihood of Florida’s government, businesses and – ultimately – its citizens.
Therefore, any products installed on this system have to be extremely reliable. Schmetzer uses almost all of the software TeamQuest offers for 2200 systems. While his relationship with these products began many years ago when they were available from Unisys, Schmetzer says there are many reasons why his department did not hesitate to deal directly with TeamQuest when they were spun off in 1991.
He explains, "The main advantage is that handling the maintenance through TeamQuest is cheaper than doing it through Unisys. Another advantage is getting new releases as soon as they come out, rather than waiting for Unisys to package the products together with their massive, system-based releases. We can always get new or featured products immediately and start using them. They’ve always been backward- and forward-compatible, so we don’t have any problems using the latest version even though, systemwise, we may be using older software."
Schmetzer’s department uses TeamQuest software primarily for performance analysis – to keep an eye on how well the system is performing in realtime. Products are also used extensively for log analysis, which indicates what has been happening in the system and preserves that data for future analysis, and for managing the Department of Revenue’s disk subsystems so that they operate as efficiently as possible.
Schmetzer says going direct with TeamQuest has provided him and his department with a personalized level of service that is unusual in the software industry. "It’s also turned out that if we think the product should be doing something even slightly different from the way it currently performs, the TeamQuest people are very open to suggestions as to how the product might function differently to meet our specific requirements," he says. "They’ve already implemented several suggestions I’ve made over the past few years on various products."
Keeping Crescent Electric Supply Together
When Dan Mehlhorn, system programmer and EDI administrator for Crescent Electric Supply Co. determined his company’s need for a mainframe disk defragmenter, he decided to try TeamQuest.
That was two years ago. Today, Mehlhorn says, the addition of TeamQuest D-Fragger has saved Crescent a significant amount of time and money in the process of keeping their mainframe IX4400 system running smoothly – an essential requirement since this system manages key aspects of Crescent’s business. A national wholesale retailer of electrical supplies, Crescent was founded in 1919, operates over 116 locations nationwide and has nearly 2,000 employees. Their customers range from one-man electrical contractor shops to rural electric cooperatives and municipal utilities, to hospitals and colleges.
With so many locations and varieties of customers, accurate management of things such as order tracking, inventory levels and merchandise bin location is essential to Crescent’s day-to-day operations. The IX4400 system handles all of these functions, as well as the processing of timecards and paychecks, and pricing and quote production for all merchandise.
According to Mehlhorn, before installing TeamQuest D-Fragger the company did not have a dedicated defragmenting product running on the system. When the time came periodically to clean up the disks, they followed a very time-consuming procedure that involved copying files to tape and running it back into the mainframe to try and get it contiguous. With four disks to clean up, this was a project that could stretch over several days and involve many operators and programmers.
Today, however, the task has been reduced to an average of one hour – something one person can easily handle during off-hours. In addition to the obvious time and cost savings Crescent enjoys from D-Fragger, according to Mehlhorn, the product also acts as an early indicator of the operating system’s positioning, based on how it performs and from where on the disks it picks up files.
"We’re dealing with the very basics of the operating system, but if this system goes down, the company would be severely affected," Mehlhorn says. "Therefore, easily accessible technical and customer support is critical. This is another area in which TeamQuest shines."
For more information on TeamQuest Direct, visit www.teamquest.com.