EnterpriseLink Offers Enhanced Version of SmartTran

EnterpriseLink Technology Corp. (Campbell, Calif.), a provider of enterprise application integration software, has released the latest version of SmartTran, which integrates legacy applications and data for delivery of e-business solutions. SmartTran provides a method for the large populations of new users to access mainframe and AS/400 transaction systems via the Web.

Version 3.1 consists of four modules for loading, building, team authoring, and a runtime environment. The SmartTran Loader provides a browser-based object interface to a legacy system. For a terminal driven system (3270 or 5250 terminals), Loader is a tool for capturing and objectizing host screens. The SmartTran Builder manages data scripts via the SmartScript Library Manager and applies drag-and-drop functionality to applications or data objects. The SmartTran Script, a server-side script language, facilitates e-business development by using extensible server-side script functions and performing integration of enterprise applications. Customizable function keys and new business logic improve personalization of information delivery. The SmartTran Server is an application server, which performs protocol conversion, data transformation and integration, inter-application communication and on-the-fly HTML conversion at run time for application integration and delivery.

The tool also integrates COM or CORBA server applications: Version 3.1 offers SmartCOM, a COM+ compliant component, which can be used within Microsoft Active Server Page applications via VBScript or any other client/server application to bridge to any enterprise application. Security features include SmartTran's security supports encrypted authorization cookies, session timeouts, Web-page configurations and multisite Web servers. Web server security is available in RACF (Resource Access Control Facility), TopSecret, and ACF2 security.

"EnterpriseLink solutions function as a 'Super EAI' which learns--without modifying--the existing interfaces and extends them to the customer base via the Web," says Mark Haynie, founder and CTO of EnterpriseLink. "The need for immediate information is a growing concern and one of the major reasons why people use the SmartTran approach to 'e-enable' their enterprise. Another benefit is that Web-deployed applications are much easier to use, resulting in lower training costs."

For example, insurance companies can replace paper-based claim processing functions with real-time, Web-based capability, enabling agents to have simple, intuitive and fast access to host-based policy data via a familiar Web browser. This dramatically improves both agent productivity and customer satisfaction without additional IT investment. "Larger companies and agencies have their own in-house management software that they use to rekey in the data from our system to theirs," says Peter Brander, VP of MIS at American Independent Insurance (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.). "At first, our management team wanted a stand-alone application, where independent agents could download the information and get a 'snapshot' of available data at the beginning of the day or on a regular basis. However, it's not live, and if anything is updated after they've downloaded, they won't know it until the next download."

"We wanted to move to a more interactive arena, using the Internet to directly access our AS/400 applications. This would let the agents see the data in real-time and also give them the capability to move forward in the future by allowing them to enter data to the AS/400 application."

American Independent Insurance has been using EnterpriseLink solutions for about six months. "EnterpriseLink allowed us to do something we set out to do: build a Web application," says Brander. American Independent Insurance talked with five different vendors before making a selection. Brander selected EnterpriseLink because the product has good technology that is moving forward, it's relatively easy-to-use, required little training and was a good price for the performance.

EnterpriseLink offers one of the most comprehensive Web-to-host offerings and has a more elegant solution that other vendors, says Darcy Fowkes, research director for Internet infrastructure for Aberdeen Group. She is also impressed with their security implementation. "The challenge for enterprises moving toward the Web is to have tools that are sophisticated enough to Web-enable existing applications and flexible enough to extend application functionality and enhance security," says Fowkes. "This new version of SmartTran provides users with an additional scripting language that will allow them to manage information flow smoothly and more efficiently."

"This multidirectional interface to a wide variety of enterprise resources elevates SmartTran far beyond a typical Web-to-Host solution and enables the product to play a critical role in supporting supply-side automation. The ability to isolate developers from the complexity involved in Web-enabling multiple enterprise resources highly differentiates this offering, as does the SmartTran security utility. Aberdeen believes that any company looking to deploy host assets as well as other applications to Web users should evaluate SmartTran."