The AS/400 and Modern ERP Solutions
The biggest development in ERP systems recent years has been the migration away from legacy onsite to modern cloud solutions. This has enabled organisations to unleash their digital potential as these new platforms are equipped with advanced analytics, automation, and AI, as well as delivering greater flexibility and integration opportunities, coupled with reductions in costs and a myriad of support options.
Despite this trend, one of the most powerful enterprise ‘legacy’ systems, the AS400, remains surprisingly resilient, with roughly 10,000 companies around the world still running their business-critical applications on it.
When IBM introduced the AS/400 systems in 1988, it was a powerful, integrated combination of hardware and software, with its own OS/400 operating system and an embedded database. It became one of the main robust and reliable system architectures used by many organizations for ERP.
However, with the attraction of the new cutting-edge ERP technologies, coupled with the constant decreasing cost of cloud hosting and the perceived lack of IT professionals with the skills to support the AS400, in general the trend has been that enterprise cloud services have now largely replaced onsite ERP systems.
So why do several of the world’s most successful multi-national companies still retain their AS/400?
Many of these companies require data-intense, demanding workloads with high volumes of transactions, or many thousands of records in banking, healthcare, or manufacturing. The AS400 is fast, reliable, and very stable – factors upon which many IT professionals and the systems they maintain are still judged, particularly in such large data processing and manufacturing environments.
Other considerations are the costs and risks when migrating off the AS/400. It can feel hard to make the move, but this can be true of any system migration. However, given the increasing costs and risks of supporting the AS400, in the mid to long term, any company should see an overall reduction in costs and certainly a reduced risk going forward with a modern, supported cloud-based system.
But perhaps the most important point of all, is that the AS/400 can be integrated with the latest cloud-based ERP systems
Integrating for an Improved ERP Solution
Many of the companies still using the AS400 do so nowadays in conjunction with other modern day ERP systems, due to its upward compatibility.
Companies these days are best served by modern day ERP platforms, like Microsoft Dynamics 365, that offer the flexibility and scalability required to quickly adapt to competitive and environmental conditions to realise and sustain growth. These solutions are designed with usability, resilience, and security top-of-mind. They can easily integrate with business insight and reporting tools on the same cloud platform, where they can also connect with newer technologies such as machine learning or AI apps. Additionally, their administrative requirements tend to be a fraction of what legacy systems demand.
For those AS/400 users who have determined to stay with the system for real operational and risk-assessed benefits, ensuring your company also has the best possible ERP system to support growth and efficiencies is paramount. Integration between your AS/400 and a system like Microsoft Dynamics 365 F&O can deliver a workable solution.
AS400 and Microsoft Dynamics
Such integrations require experienced professionals to ensure their reliability and continuity as newer software systems change with new features and other updates. Experts with experience of such an integration can best help, drawing on their knowledge of ‘best in class’ ERP processes and solutions, and their expertise in customisable integrations with the AS/400.
In recent years, we built a custom integration between AS400 and Dynamics AX for a major multi-national company that wanted to continue managing their inventories and supply chain management processes within AS400. In this way, they could continue using AS400 for all the logistics and use Dynamics AX for accounting and administrative processes.
Choosing a supplier with the right experience of in D365F&O integrations, will allow you to dramatically improve the impact of your ERP solution.
At some point, most companies will need to determine whether the cost and effort associated with maintaining their on-site, legacy system is justifiable compared to migrating their processes to a contemporary, in-the-cloud solution and using that as the single system of record and engagement.
If you are running business processes on an IBM AS/400 platform and want to benefit from innovative, robust ERP technology, as well as make your users’ lives easier and accomplish more, we should talk.
We can help you plot the best course for taking advantage of a modern ERP system. Efficient and economic approaches to achieving this can involve incorporating your current on-premises technology, migrating data and processes to the cloud, or combining the most valuable capabilities of your legacy AS/400 technology with modern ERP.
To have your questions answered or prepare an AS/400 integration or migration, do get in touch to discuss how Dynamo can help your company optimise business performance with intelligent and connected ERP solutions.