ICC plans next-generation trucking software for IBM System i

In the past six to nine months, Innovative Computing Corp. (ICC) has worked extensively with a consulting group from IBM to design a new strategy for its next generation of enterprise software for truckload carriers, said Ernie Betancourt, president of ICC.

Speaking May 13 in San Antonio at ICE 2008, the company’s annual users conference, Betancourt said the company is developing new enterprise software based on the breakthrough functionality of IBM’s new operating system (version 6.1) for the iSeries midrange server. Betancourt, as do many others in the trucking industry, often refer to the iSeries server by previous names such as “System i” and “AS400.”

“We are going to be System i based for the foreseeable future,” Betancourt said, pointing to the security, reliability and other high-end capabilities of IBM’s popular computing platform. “There is no question in my mind that we will stay with the AS400.”

ICC plans to release version 9 (R9) of its Innovative Enterprise System (IES) by the first of next year. The new release will be substantially written with RPG IV and Free Form RPG, new versions of IBM’s RPG programming language for its iSeries. Betancourt said these new easier-to-use programming languages will simplify new product development and enable ICC to build many API (application program interface) layers into its software. APIs will make it easy for users and third-party software providers to add or change programs to meet their custom needs without changing the core database of IES, he said.

By next year, ICC plans to have several of its current software modules moved to the next generation as it continues to support its current and prior versions of IES. Upgrades will be transparent and not affect any custom programming the customer already has done, Betancourt said.

The user interface for the next generation of IES will look the same as its current software. With the release of R9 planned for later this year, the company no longer will support IES software versions older than version 5.2 (R5). This will only impact a handful of customers, Betancourt said. “As of right now, R9 is going to go back to R5,” he said.

In addition to developing a next-generation enterprise system, ICC plans to create new services for its customers, including disaster recovery and planning, high availability and custom software development, Betancourt said.