SEAGULL Partners for Wireless-to-Host Success
At its annual Fusion Conference on July 14, Microsoft named SEAGULL (Atlanta) a Certified Solution Provider of wireless access to IBM enterprise applications via the Microsoft Windows 2000 platform and Pocket PC. The announcement represents yet another positioning of SEAGULL's Wireless-to-Host solution, which has been on the market for just over eight months.
|By partnering with Microsoft, SEAGULL is advancing an industry-wide initiative to make RPG-based, IBM, enterprise applications available through a Windows-like environment.|
Since releasing Wireless-to-Host in December 1999, SEAGULL has been aggressively fostering and extending strategic partnerships, as it attempts to gain an edge in the hotly-contested, wireless-access market. And while the agreement between Microsoft and SEAGULL is nothing more than a non-exclusive cooperative marketing initiative, with perks (i.e. access to Microsoft technologies prior to release, collaboration on projects, etc.), the announcement has some significance in terms of the overall direction of the host-access space.
"The real value of this agreement is that SEAGULL is in the position to join two traditionally separate worlds," says Andre den Haan, VP of product strategy for SEAGULL. By partnering with Microsoft, SEAGULL is advancing an industry-wide initiative to make RPG-based, IBM, enterprise applications available through a Windows-like environment.
"We've got customers out there today that are using both platforms," says Joe Collins, VP strategic alliances worldwide for SEAGULL. "Business dictates that these environments need to integrate." As many midrange host-access providers do, Collins believes that compatibility with Microsoft solutions increases the relevancy of AS/400.
From Microsoft's perspective, integration with IBM applications is equally important, since AS/400 remains a widely-used platform for housing business-critical data. "The thing about the SEAGULL solution is that it provides people who need access to this data an easy way to do it," says Doug Dedo, group product manager for the Mobile Devices Division of Microsoft. Dedo calls the ability to access IBM enterprise data with a Windows 2000-ready Pocket PC "a very important thing for a lot of people. It opens up a lot of doors."
E-business has made the sharing of information among independent entities a necessity. And given the number of hardware and software options available to any single business unit, finding a way for disparate systems to interact has become a major concern for many midrange enterprises. According to den Haan, by partnering with Microsoft, SEAGULL is attempting to "link it all together so you get a collaborative effort."
In terms of wireless, den Haan says the newness of the technology makes collaboration very important. He believes that because wireless is at a rather primitive stage in its evolutionary cycle, new devices and increasing bandwidth make it essential for SEAGULL to develop relationships with major players in the market in order to stay ahead of the technology. "You don't want to do this by yourself," says den Haan. "You want to partner."
By doing so with Microsoft, SEAGULL extends its Wireless-to-Host solution beyond its previously-existing compatabilities with PDAs and WAP-enabled cellular telephones to also include Pocket PC. Henry Holster, business system manager for MEXX, a major European clothier, cites the flexibility of Wireless-to-Host as one of the things that attracted him to the solution.
Currently, MEXX is using Wireless-to-Host to provide its sales associates access to host-based data via cellular telephones. However, Holster says MEXX plans to role the functionality out to its retailers as well as consumers, at which time it would need the ability to provide access through a variety of wireless devices. "We've tested on Palm," says Holster. "If people have a Palm device, OK you can use it."
As an inclusive solution with the ability to provide host access to a variety of devices, SEAGULL is well positioned for future success. But, den Haan, Collins, Dedo, and Holster all agree, limited bandwidth is the one thing hindering the wireless-access market. In the coming months, though, emerging technologies figure to drastically increase data-transmission speeds.
Due to its aggressive initiative for developing partnerships, den Haan and Collins are hopeful SEAGULL will be able to immediately capitalize on the opportunities increased bandwidth presents. In order to be successful in the wireless space, den Haan says, "you have to integrate rather than stay in your little isolate world."
EDITOR'S NOTE: In the September 18 print edition of MIDRANGE Systems, this article stated: "By partnering with Microsoft, SEAGULL is advancing an industry-wide initiative to make RPG-based, IBM, enterprise applications available through a COBOL-based, Windows environment." This statement was not intended to indicate that SEAGULL's Wireless-to-Host solution supports COBOL.
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Related Information:SEAGULL (new window)Wireless-to-Host (new window)