SNA Server Gives Software Developer a New Lease on Mainframe Data
Many lenders couldn’t finance cars without FiServ/LeMans. It makes accounting software used by automobile manufacturers and banks to finance car loans and leases through their dealer networks. The largest software and services provider for the vehicle finance industry, FiServ/LeMans both licenses its software and manages customer portfolios in its service bureau via a private network.
LeMans employs two Microsoft SNA Server gateways with about 200 users on each. Programmers and back-office customer service reps use SNA Server to access 3270 screens, transfer mainframe print files to a COLD system and batch transfer data between LAN and host systems, all while conducting heavy LU6.2 OLTP background transactions. Prior to SNA Server, LeMans used four different vendor products to perform these activities.
Recently, LeMans upgraded its CICS-based 3270 applications using new features in Microsoft SNA Server, Version 4 to increase functionality without changing mainframe business logic. Brian Brown, Vice President of IT, says LeMans wanted to create "scalable applications with a rich user interface that have the ability to support customized versions of our LeaseMaster 2 application," LeMans’ automobile lease accounting system.
LeMans is building an enterprise application around Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS) and SNA Server using COMTI (Component Object Model Transaction Interface), which COM-wraps CICS transactions so they can be accessed and executed by COM development environments like Visual Basic. Users access mainframe data via Web pages hosted by Internet Information Server (IIS) and MTS. SNA Server with COMTI transfers MVS host data to MTS where it’s folded into client transactions.
LeMans’ service bureau customers now use a browser-based application to access host account information. "Everything that is on the host is now retrievable" from Internet Explorer, says Tom Taglianetti, Senior Technical Consultant. LeMans is able to build "greater functionality" into its applications, he adds, "while maintaining our core business logic and data at the host."
LeMans is also bringing more products to market. For instance, it converted its two-tier client/server Collection Queuing System (for collecting delinquent accounts) to a three-tiered Web-enabled package based on Microsoft’s Distributed Network Architecture. Instead of sending batch feeds to and from the host, the package offers "real time" host access which, in turn, improves collector productivity. LeMans then tied in complementary imaging and telephony systems to further automate collection.
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