mrc Wins Prestigious IBM "Star Stream" Application Award
IBM bestowed its prestigious Star Stream Application award on michaels, ross & cole (mrc) at IBM's Partners in Development Summit '96 conference on October 10 in Rochester, Minnesota. The international Star Stream Application competition is designed to showcase the most outstanding AS/400 application solutions developed by IBM business partners worldwide. mrc Partner, Joseph Stangarone, accepted the crystal Star Stream statuette at an awards ceremony Tuesday night.
The winning fund-raising campaign "donor information" application was built with mrc's rapid application development platform, the mrc-Productivity Series, for the winner of its 1995 "Dream a C/S Dream" contest, United Way of Southeastern New England. Among other things, the object oriented (OO) client/server application accesses information from disparate AS/400 databases (running in System/36 emulation mode) and PC graphics files, providing users with instant desktop access to critical donor, pledge and giving history data.
mrc was the only application development platform vendor amongst the ten, 1996 Star Stream award winners. Stangarone says this distinction is significant. "The AS/400 is known for the thousands of applications that run on it. But for most companies, off-the-shelf packages are not enough. As business needs evolve, companies need the ability quickly to retrofit their legacy systems, customize them, or develop new systems altogether. The mrc-Productivity Series' enterprise-centric architecture delivers on these needs. And the resulting applications are robust, function-rich and enterprise-strength. By judging us a winner, IBM recognized this. We were pleased and honored to receive the Star Stream award."
Stangarone explains that mrc's winning application addresses the crying need of users for a graphical user interface (GUI) while maintaining the AS/400's stability, which those same users have come to take for granted. "Sometimes the crying need is one of preference - point and click versus command keys and field exits. Sometimes it's one of function. We have shown how the mrc-Productivity Series delivers on the GUI needs of users without sacrificing the scaleability, security and reliability the AS/400 is known for."
Stangarone believes the mrc-Productivity Series' enterprise-centric architecture caught the attention of the Star Stream award judges. "Companies are concerned about preserving their investment in legacy systems while modernizing to remain competitive in our fast-changing world. In United Way's case, an alternative LAN-based solution could only offer a fraction of the function of their existing System/36 solution. In contrast, without sacrificing any function, we were able to modernize their existing applications, open them to new platforms, and position them to respond to change faster."
Stangarone notes that frequently, an unexpected benefit of mrc's enterprise-centric model is the empowerment of users to overcome their limitations and create new and better solutions. "Politically, systems like our donor information application are an easy sell. Nobody has to give up anything. And the payback is significant. GUI users learn to appreciate the strengths of the enterprise AS/400. AS/400 users learn to appreciate the strengths of the GUI desktop. And both sides learn to develop more creative solutions to their problems because they are open to new approaches."
Software Developers and independent software vendors (ISV's) can learn more about using the mrc-Productivity Series to develop enterprise-centric OO applications by attending mrc's "IBM OO Jump Start Lab" at IBM headquarters in Rochester. Contact mrc at 630.916.0662 for more information.
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