LANSA Chooses NewLook

Rolfe & Nolan, a solutions provider for the futures and options industry, announced plans to partner with LANSA Inc. to take advantage of NewLook, a graphical user interface (GUI) generator from LANSA. Using NewLook, Rolfe & Nolan will be able to enhance its Real-time Information System for Commodities (RISC) futures and options back-office processing system.

The London-based Rolfe & Nolan will private-label NewLook for use with its RISC software. This bundled application will offer users point-and-click capabilities, 3D controls, radio buttons, check boxes, drop-down menus and other timesaving features. "NewLook from LANSA provides a range of functionality that supports our clients’ current functional initiatives," says James Birney, U.S. commercial director for Rolfe & Nolan. "It integrates very easily into existing green-screen applications, dynamically generating the GUI without any double maintenance. When we saw how easy NewLook is to use, and how flexible its approach to screen management is, it became the clear choice."

According to Bill Benjamin, VP of business development for LANSA (Oak Brook, Ill.), Rolfe & Nolan--like most of LANSA's business partners--chose NewLook because of its dynamic capabilities. "That’s where we win most of the time," Benjamin says. "Non-dynamic tools have to maintain GUI in two places, something we call double maintenance. With NewLook, you only have to maintain it in one place because it dynamically converts the data stream from the AS/400 and renders it into Windows or Web client."

LANSA licenses NewLook from Melbourne, Australia-based Look Software. According to Benjamin, the story of how the two companies formed a partnership goes back two years, when LANSA officials in Australia came across Look Software at a time when LANSA was looking to add a GUI to its development tools packages. After testing NewLook and looking at other products in the market, LANSA decided on NewLook. "We have complementary technologies," he says. "LANSA’s customers needed graphical interface for their AS/400 applications, a product we didn’t have in our portfolio that our customers needed."

During talks to purchase the NewLook software, a re-licensing came about where LANSA would license NewLook to software companies in the United States. This deal benefited both sides, according to Benjamin. "Look Software doesn’t have a presence in the U.S. We’re basically their North American distributor and a support channel for their ISVs," he says, adding that LANSA also "saw a good revenue market, recognized GUI was becoming such a popular product, and saw it as an opportunity to grow our marketshare."

LANSA also has re-sellers who sell NewLook, but its main focus is to find business partners looking to include a GUI as part of their package. "NewLook is ideally sold wrapped with an application package, and it provides a more complete package for companies whose customers need a graphical interface," Benjamin says.

The most current version of NewLook, 4.2, was announced in late May and features enhancements that support Web enablement, integration of existing AS/400 applications with desktop applications and application extensions, including workflow enhancements. Each time a new version is released, LANSA is briefed on all the improvements and features so the company can provide support to both its business partners and customers. "We know how the software runs so we can answer any questions, whether it be technical issues or questions about marketing," Benjamin says.

During the first year, LANSA acquired only one business partner for NewLook. However, during the past year, "things have drastically taken off. We’ve been increasing sales every quarter, and we now have 30 business partners and 200-to-300 customers," Benjamin says.

Benjamin adds that the "biggest challenge is letting the market know we’re out there, and competing against companies such as SEAGULL [Atlanta] that have a strong presence and have been around for a long time." With an increased emphasis placed on marketing and promoting NewLook, he sees a bright future. "I think it will continue to increase in popularity for two main reasons," Benjamin says. "Number one, because it can help a customer very quickly modernize their AS/400 application to get a Windows or Web interface. Number two, because it’s a dynamic product that limits the maintenance and is very cost effective."