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A Cooperative Effort

Control Systems Software and LANSA team up to modernize a core application

Control Systems Software and LANSA team up to modernize a core application
Terry Osburn, development manager (left), and Carol Stewart, CEO, say CSS’s new software solution adds drill-down capabilities and a much-needed GUI.
 

A Logical Format

MOCA development began in February 2008 and a beta version of the revamped application was available in January 2009, with Stratton acting as the live test bed. Notably, this happened as Stratton was closing its fiscal year. This might have been a deal breaker for some organizations worried about using live data in a beta application during a crucial time, but Stratton decided this might be the best way to put the updated CONTROL application through its paces.

“When you do these things only once a year, you’re only using specific functions once a year and you forget what they are,” Stratton’s Jostes says. “With the green-screen interface, it sometimes took a while to figure out where this or that report was. Now, it’s right there in front of you. You know this action has to do with grain, so you go to the grain menu. Yes, we were early adopters, but that actually helped us during this period.”

Jostes also says the new interface and enhanced functionality make employees more productive. For example, users would have to go from one screen to another and then to another in the previous version of CONTROL to find multiple but related bits of information about one customer. Now they can click on tabs and menus or search for relevant information from a single point of application interface.

“Everything’s put together in a very logical format,” Jostes says, “Whichever area you’re working in, everything’s likely to be right there, on the screen for people to point and click on. With the green screen, you would have to leave one screen, enter another and then go back to the original one. MOCA has changed how we work.”

Indeed, additional functionality has made CONTROL much more powerful than in the past. Print spool files now go to a database in PDF format instead of to printers. Users can then access those PDFs and bring them up on screen, bypassing paper altogether. “That saves them a lot of money,” Stewart says.

Reporting has been enhanced as well. Users can now right-click on grid lists of information and send that to Microsoft* Excel if they want to customize the sorting. And Excel opens automatically when that function is performed, without users manually exporting that information to their desktops and leaving CONTROL to open it. “Drill-down capabilities have also been added to the application,” Osburn says.

 

 

Jim Utsler, IBM Systems Magazine senior writer, has been covering the technology field for more than a decade. Jim can be reached at jjutsler@provide.net.


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A Cooperative Effort

Control Systems Software and LANSA team up to modernize a core application

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