OrderTrack Provides Web View of ERP Data

A dedicated Web-to-host solution now enables companies to access order status from J.D. Edwards and other ERP software. Attachmate Corp. (Bellevue, Wash.) has begun shipping a standalone, application-specific Web-to-host solution that displays data drawn from AS/400-based ERP systems.

Attachmate's AS/400-based OrderTrack provides a password-protected order-tracking system that enables end users to view their own individual order status and shipping information stored on J.D. Edwards and other ERP systems, according to Karl Kimball, architect of Attachmate's business solutions group. "The solution goes straight to the database, so performance is higher than other ERP reporting environments," he adds. "We don't carry all the baggage of report generators."

This not only provides outstanding customer service, but also adds the benefit of reducing service costs. This is all achieved without impacting the operation of existing host applications. OrderTrack is customized to fit the look and feel of each company's corporate Web server. It is built as a set of Active Server Pages (ASP) when running on a Microsoft IIS Web server, or as Java Server Pages (JSP) when running on other Web servers. Information is downloaded to the browser as standard HTML.

OrderTrack runs on the server, and uses server scripting to make ODBC or JDBC calls to a database driver provided by Attachmate, according to Kimball. Using TCP/IP, database query results are returned and then formatted by OrderTrack into HTML pages, which are then displayed by the browser.

There are several layers of security built into OrderTrack. To access the system, customers are prompted for a logon ID and password. This information is provided by and maintained by each company's MIS department, and all communications to the site can be protected with SSL security. In addition, the standard offering of OrderTrack is as a query-only application--the data results displayed are read-only and cannot be changed by the end user. The OrderTrack application that accesses the AS/400 system resides behind the corporate firewall, so customers using the systems have no direct access to it; OrderTrack manages what and how the customer sees enterprise data. The solution dovetails with Attachmate's eVantage Web-to-host product, says Kimball.