ERP on the AS/400 IPCS: A System-Justifying Application

In early 1998, IBM Corp. unveiled the Integrated PC Server (IPCS) option for the AS/400 with a great deal of fanfare. In the ensuing year, however, the IPCS has rarely been talked about and may even have been forgotten about by many AS/400 administrators. With the announcement of an innovative new approach to doing ERP on the AS/400 that leverages the IPCS, however, this may soon change.

Accordingly, ROI Systems Inc. (www.roisysinc.com ) announced that, in tandem with system and application integrator Black Oak Computer Services Inc. (www.black-oak.com ), it had made its Manage2000 ERP application available on AS/400 systems with the IPCS installed. In this model, the Manage2000 ERP application itself runs on the Windows NT IPCS while the AS/400 handles all file and print services, I/O and other tasks. According to representatives with both vendors, the hybrid Windows NT/AS/400 configuration required no modification of either operating system, nor of the Manage2000 application modules themselves.

“Everything that was done was done in terms of configuration and tweaking,” says Bill Pisarra, executive vice president of marketing with ROI Systems. “We have made zero changes [to the application code base itself]. Not one character of code in the application was touched.”

Manage2000 comprises a suite of over 40 integrated applications that facilitate production planning and control, sales and service, engineering and finance, among other business processes. According to ROI Systems’ Pisarra, Manage2000 is commonly deployed in manufacturing environments with as little as $10 million in annual revenue on up to larger manufacturers with more than $300 million of revenue.

Manage2000 is distinguished most saliently by its configure-to-order technology, which allows a reseller or manufacturer to define rules for the configuration of products, processes and prices. “This means that for a wide range of products, you can define an infinite number of models that allow you to be highly responsive to your clients,” ROI Systems’ Pisarra concludes. The Manage2000 ERP product has established itself in vertical markets such as electronics manufacturing, medical device manufacturing and the production of industrial machinery.

--S. Swoyer