Last night we dropped by a California wine tasting sponsored by State Street and NetManage at the Gartner Financial Services Technology Summit at the Times Square Marriott Marquis. At the reception, Jim Dobbie, vice president of State Street, told us a bit about how his firm has webified the applications it provides its mutual fund administration clients.Not a single client asked for such an upgrade, says Dobbie. "They were all happy with 3270 simulation," he says. Such green-screen terminal-like applications are very fast and customers are used to them.
But the world and State Street's competitors are moving away from mainframe terminal emulation, even in mutual fund processing. "When someone who's just come out of college sees the 3270 screen, they say, 'What the heck is this?'" Dobbie says. And State Street's marketing and sales organizations felt they needed a new front-end to show potential clients.
To effect the change, State Street brought in NetManage's OnWeb tools to repackage the green screen applications as web applications, essentially making them prettier, more intuitive and slower - however, in many cases screens have been consolidated so that there is a net time savings, Dobbie says. Although it's been a challenge convincing customers to use the new web-based system, when they do, users fly through training, Dobbie says.
Before we left for the evening, an ebullient Descartes De Souza Teixeira introduced himself to us. He has recently formed the Instituto De Tecnologia De Software in Sao Paulo, Brazil, an organization of Brazilian software companies that would like to start selling their products to financial companies in the U.S. We noted that for years it's been U.S. companies trying to sell software to South American firms. "Why not turn that around?" said De Souza Teixeira, who will soon hold a software conference in Brazil.