Friday, April 15, 2011

BI Dashboards with QMF Enterprise Edition

During business introductions, I used to provide people with the exact year that I started working in the software industry. But then I noticed the youngsters in the room would get wide eyes as they did mental calculations.

But just to give you a milestone, I started "coding" after Ted Codd had formulated the System Relational which would be the foundation of an entire relational database industry based on SQL, the structured query language. I also started after IBM released an implementation of the relational database on their mainframe VM/CMS platform, called SQL/DS. My first corporate job was about the time IBM released another version of the relational database for their MVS/TSO platform, called DB2.

Way back then, IBM also developed a SQL database reporting tool called QMF, which stood for Query Management Facility.

QMF has stood the test of time. It is still in use out there on mainframes and has not been forgotten, either by technical users or the software vendor. In October of 2010, IBM released QMF Version 10 with significant new features.

Like me, Mike Biere is a fellow Cincinnati resident who has been in the industry for a while. A senior manager with IBM, Mike recently wrote an article in the April/May 2011 issue of the z/Journal magazine providing readers with details that they might not know about QMF.

For example, did you know that you can build graphical web dashboards with QMF?

This is not your Father's QMF. The green-screen dumb terminals are a thing of the past.

Like the 4GLs that emerged about the same time in mainframe history, Mike reminds us that "QMF was initially designed to be a straightforward query and reporting tool. The assumption was that the information provided to the users from source tables was suitable for reporting purposes. It was intended to provide relief from the constant pressures users placed on IT to produce reports."

Today, IT has new pressures. For example, their business users expect to be able to interact with data visually and through a web interface. IBM has added those features to a new QMF Enterprise Edition for either a rich workstation client (Windows, Linux, and Solaris) or a thin client (Windows, Linux, Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, iSeries, Linux on System z, and z/OS).

Mike wants you to know about the latest changes to QMF, such as:
  • New Metadata Layer (definitions/virtual data sources)
  • Visual, Interactive Dashboards 
  • Enhancements for Business Analytics (150 new functions and OLAP support)
  • New Data Types and Sources (JDBC support)
  • New Data Environments Feature
  • Enhanced Charting Creation and Deployment (QMF for Workstation)
  • Technical Core Improvements

For more information about IBM's latest enhancements to QMF, visit their website.

Also, be sure to check out Mike's recent book, "The New Era of Enterprise Business Intelligence," which was released in August 2010 and is available in both physical and mobile e-book reader formats.

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About Me

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I am a project-based software consultant, specializing in automating transitions from legacy reporting applications into modern BI/Analytics to leverage Social, Cloud, Mobile, Big Data, Visualizations, and Predictive Analytics using Information Builders' WebFOCUS. Based on scores of successful engagements, I have assembled proven Best Practice methodologies, software tools, and templates.

I have been blessed to work with innovators from firms such as: Ford, FedEx, Procter & Gamble, Nationwide, The Wendy's Company, The Kroger Co., JPMorgan Chase, MasterCard, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Siemens, American Express, and others.

I was educated at Valparaiso University and the University of Cincinnati, where I graduated summa cum laude. In 1990, I joined Information Builders and for over a dozen years served in regional pre- and post-sales technical leadership roles. Also, for several years I led the US technical services teams within Cincom Systems' ERP software product group and the Midwest custom software services arm of Xerox.

Since 2007, I have provided enterprise BI services such as: strategic advice; architecture, design, and software application development of intelligence systems (interactive dashboards and mobile); data warehousing; and automated modernization of legacy reporting. My experience with BI products include WebFOCUS (vendor certified expert), R, SAP Business Objects (WebI, Crystal Reports), Tableau, and others.