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DACHSER Consolidates its Data Management to UNICODE

PKS selected as Technology Supplier

(PresseBox) (Ravensburg, ) DACHSER is one of the leading logistic service providers in Europe and offers its customers solutions for integrated commodity and information management. For the optimal support of business processes, self-developed Java, RPG and Cobol applications are run on DACHSER’s strategic hardware platform, IBM System i. Roughly 11,000 users around the world work with these applications on a daily basis.

In order to equip the RPG and Cobol apps with a modern front-end – preferably without any additional effort – DACHSER’s IT management decided on the Server Builder technology from the Ravensburg-based firm PKS Software GmbH back in 2005. The Server Builder is a market-leading tool for the guification of 5250 applications and is now also available through IBM within the scope of OEM licensing.
Within just a few months back then, the existing 5250 applications were migrated with a minimal amount of effort to a sleek, yet powerful Windows client.
This allowed 5250 to be replaced by PKS’s modernization technology at all branches worldwide.

Over the course of DACHSER’s “one world, one system” globalization strategy (all DACHSER branches around the world were to work with one uniform IT system), the character set problem was added to the IT agenda around mid-2008. The goal was to migrate the data pool and data management to UNICODE, and also display UNICODE data in the front-end. Yet how could this be successfully done with as little effort as possible for the development department and its staff of over 80 people, and of course without having any negative effects on IT operations or the users? A proof of concept was done under the direction of the head of DACHSER’s software development, Herbert Egner. The results showed that with the UNICODE Enablement Kit from PKS, risk-free migration to UNICODE was possible with a tolerable amount of effort. The UNICODE Enablement Kit offers precisely what international companies need from their IT departments: whether they’re in China, Germany, the Czech Republic or Greece, all users should be able to see the data on their screens with their language’s special characters. Without any redundancies in the database of course, and without any complicated administrative effort in terms of CCSIDs.

Joachim Sieber, Managing Consultant of PKS Software GmbH, says: “With our technology, we’re basically able to migrate every 5250 application to UNICODE automatically with the support of tools. At the moment, there’s no comparable approach available on the market. This solution is unique and very well accepted by customers. It addresses exactly the need that IT departments currently have in the area of internationalization – and at a very reasonable price-performance ratio to boot.

All of the work at DACHSER will be finished by this September. At the moment, the first three applications with Chinese characters are being produced as test applications. Over the next few weeks, the change-over will be productively tested and rolled out corporate-wide bit by bit, all without a “big bang.”

Says Egner: “After the excellent teamwork with PKS in recent years, it really pleased us that they were also able to offer a technologically sophisticated, sleek solution for the UNICODE issue. Up until now, the turnaround and results have met our demands and our 80 software developers haven’t even noticed a thing. We’re very satisfied.”

About PKS Software GmbH

PKS Software is the world’s leading technology vendor when it comes to modernizing or migrating time-tested, custom-tailored applications or legacy apps. Our top priority is to always ensure the high quality and technical maturity of existing applications while simultaneously providing evolutionary improvement. To put it simply: Success = stability x evolution ²•º
This lets our customers cut costs in the areas of maintenance, operation and further development. There’s no need to make an expensive, risky switch to standard software or completely redevelop an application from the ground up.
Thanks to our close collaboration with IBM, our 40-person team is seamlessly integrated in one of the largest IT vendors, allowing us to offer our customers maximum flexibility as a local partner parallel to project support and other support services.

PKS Solutions at a Glance

• Modernization: rule-based generation of modern, graphical frontends out of 5250, 3270 or Natural MAPs as well as
• Unicode Enabling
• Migration and refactoring: platform and database migration of System i and System z applications
• Reengineering of legacy apps of any origin for increased agility during further development phase
• Transformation from “old” languages like RPG, VAGen, Cobol, CSP and Natural to modern languages such as C/C++, EGL or Java
• In-house training sessions and project coaching
• Development services: capping of HR shortages at your site

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