Bellamy Software provides municipalities and school districts with a variety of software solutions to help streamline everyday business processes. Their software specializes in managing financials and includes fully integrated application suites for services, operations and human resources. Bellamy’s core applications are RPG-based.
Bellamy faced increasing pressure because their competitors were offering alternatives with modern graphical interfaces. The perception of Bellamy’s 5250-based RPG applications was that they looked out-dated and considered old technology.
Also, when prospects wanted to proceed with purchasing their software, the costs to acquire the associated hardware and infrastructure were often prohibitive for small to medium sized operations.
However, Bellamy knew they had a great footprint. Their offerings were deep, powerful, robust, comprehensive and integrated. The application functionality was fundamentally meeting their customers’ needs and they felt they had a better core solution than alternatives. They needed to find a way to leverage the significant development investment that they had been delivering since 1982.
Bellamy identified 2 main projects to overcome their core challenges:
1. Deliver a highly graphical and modern front end for their 5250 applications. They not only wanted to make them look modern, but take advantage of the interface and devices they ran on. This included improving navigation, desktop integration and leveraging web services. The objective was to make the application more intuitive, easier to learn, and enable users to be more productive by automating tasks.
2. Host the software in the cloud and offer a SaaS (software as a service) option for small to medium sized customers.
Bellamy selected newlook from looksoftware because it would meet all these needs, and it was also able to leverage all the existing RPG source code that had been developed over many years. They leveraged IBM i servers with the power to support a large volume of customers and end users. The servers are hosted in a third-party facility that ensures maximum performance, bandwidth and 24/7 reliability.
As soon as the project was complete, Bellamy started demonstrating their application with the new graphical interface. This immediately produced an upswing in new sales.
When they showed their existing customers the new interface, they were delighted with the overwhelming positive feedback they received. For new prospects, the cloud offering of their software removed barriers to purchase. They migrated most of their school divisions to the modern interface over a three-year period from 2008-2011.
Mike Paradis, Chief Architect states; “It’s easier to train as many of the new staff are already familiar with web applications and not with text based screens. Most customers are now set up to receive their reports via e-mail on the SaaS server, thus reducing the amount of time we need to train users on how to work with output queues. We find the majority of our customers prefer this method as they can decide whether they need to physically print or they may simply save the PDF”.