PLATFORMS: QMF for Windows is available for use on two DB2 subsystems. One system is a test system and the other devoted to decision support and reporting. Both subsystems run MVS on an IBM ES9000-982.
BACKGROUND: Bank One is a large and growing financial institution. Arizona Client Services and Database Administration had the task of providing accurate and timely information to different areas of the bank. With the decision to eliminate VM, a solution was needed to provide the users with the same level of support they were currently receiving. All of the databases and their associated tables and queries on VM were migrated to the decision support DB2 subsystem.
PROBLEM SOLVED: QMF for Windows provided us with a tool to access these DB2 tables. Minimal modifications were made to the tables, so users could easily adapt to the new environment. Many users were already familiar with DB2 and QMF on VM. Aided with QMF for Windows, this made the transition easier. New users didn't have to learn how to use TSO. The QMF for Windows GUI front end provided the users with an easier way to get the data and place it in the format that they needed. Printing options allowed reports to be printed locally and more timely. Data could be downloaded and placed directly into a Microsoft Access database or into a spreadsheet. In addition, some of the VSAM applications were converted to use Access with QMF for Windows as a vehicle to download data using a query or view. This simple approach eliminated many of the previous steps it took to get data from the mainframe to a PC application.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The QMF for Windows GUI front end provides the user with easier access to the data. Users can list queries and forms available to them and with a click of the mouse, queries can be selected and run. New queries can be created and stored on the mainframe or in a data set on the PC. Downloading information is as simple as running a query and saving the data to an Access table or a data set.
STRENGTHS: One of the main strengths of QMF for Windows is that the users do not have to log onto TSO in order to access data. This was an important issue when eliminating VM.
WEAKNESSES: We have often found QMF for Windows reporting of SNA connectivity error messages hard to interpret.
SELECTION CRITERIA: There were three reasons why QMF for Windows was chosen. One, most of our users are familiar with QMF, so there should be less of a learning curve for the product. Secondly, with a Windows-based product, there would be less need for users to have TSO authority. And thirdly, the ability to interact with other Windows applications was important. Access was designated as an alternative to the VM application system with QMF for Windows to get the data.
DELIVERABLES: Our users are able to create new queries, download data for report processing or for import into other Windows applications such as Access or a spreadsheet.
VENDOR SUPPORT: We needed the most assistance in configuring our SNA Network Gateway. And once it was configured, everything else came into place. If the SNA documentation was in greater detail with the different options, installation would have taken considerably less time.
DOCUMENTATION: Initially, printed documentation was rather sparse. More detailed information on the installation of the network configurations would be more helpful. With the later releases, documentation has gotten much better. The HELP function with the application is very helpful.
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