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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are common questions asked by jobbers and convenience store operators interested in ScotSys/2000. This list will be reviewed and updated periodically. If your question isn't answered here, e-mail me and I will be happy to respond directly.

Do my people have to be computer experts to learn to use your system?
No! ScotSys/2000 is very simple to learn and operate. And you don't have to worry about relearning a new system every 18 months like you do with a LAN. My very first customer purchased their system in 1981 and they still use it every day. Sure, they've have several upgrades and they have added on to their computer equipment since then. But, the methodology remains the same. ScotSys/2000 is not only the latest state-of-the art, Year 2000 Ready software program available for your industry, but it's also timeless as well. Once an operator learns how to use it, they've learned it for life.

Does your system run in a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) environment?
Yes! ScotSys/2000 can be accessed through any PC that supports a Java-enabled Web browser. This can be done over your own office Intranet or via the Internet. Soon ScotSys/2000 will be introducing a new product that will eliminate the need for in-office computers altogether. You can find out more about this new technology by going to our home page and selecting the link to our Business Plan.

Some systems I have seen make you post your transaction in batches, such as accounts receivables and deposits, and then you have to update each batch in order to close the month or send out statements. Does your system work in that way?
No! ScotSys/2000 is an fully integrated system. You enter occurrences, not transactions. In other words, when a customer buys gasoline or diesel, an invoice is produced and the transactions are directed to the places they need to go. This is one of the things that make it possible for customers using ScotSys/2000 to close the month on the 1st or 2nd of the following month. Everything in the system is updated daily. You don't need to perform any special action to print statements, get fuel reports, or obtain a cost analysis. You can get any information you want, anytime you want.

I already have several small computers in my office representing a substantial investment. I've been attempting to find a Year 2000 Ready software program that will replace the one I've been using without having to buy more equipment. Can I install ScotSys/2000 on my current hardware?
Yes! We have been testing our software on small computer networks since 1985, and if that's what you want, we can certainly accommodate you. But first, you need to know all of the facts. PC networks are going to cost you more than an AS/400.  Every 18 months, PC technology dies and is reborn. In fact, by 2000 a new PC technology incorporating a 1,000 MHz computer chip will again make your investment in personal computer software worthless. On January 1, in the year 2000, 80-90% of the world's computers will begin having problems. PC LANs will be high on that percentage list.

Small computers are noted for their perceived speed in regards to their interface with the computer operator and their ability to display pictures quickly, but that advantage quickly disappears when it comes to the issue of processing transactions. Transactions make up the daily company's business. Some people refer to transaction processing as "batch processing." The AS/400 will process an hours worth of PC transactions in less than 10 minutes. So while the PC is grinding away processing your company's transactions, our AS/400 customers are reading their reports and making decisions to help their businesses. And speed is of little importance when pitted against reliability. ScotSys/2000 programs incorporate over 1,000 databases. Working over a massive database like that will tax your PCs capabilities. The oil marketing and convenience store businesses are more complex than the average businesses, and it takes a complex system to maintain such a complex environment.

The computer industry is evolving toward what's being called a "Client/Server" environment, whereas the small office computers run the actual processes and more reliable AS/400 servers manage the company's valuable data. As it has been for several years now, current users are providing the test market vendors need to perfect their small computer software. It's difficult for us to test software in an environment that keeps changing so rapidly. The current personal computer technology has reached the end of its life-cycle. It's time to leave that technology behind and move on to something less expensive and immeasurably better.

The AS/400 makes an ideal server for your PCs. At present, you can retain your current investment in personal computers by utilizing the computer network that you currently own, and connecting it to an inexpensive AS/400. All you have to do is to put a LAN card in your AS/400 and join it to your existing network. This will allow direct communications with the AS/400 while retaining the amenities offered by personal computers. When reliable Client/Server technology arrives, you will be ready to take advantage of the new era of computing. An AS/400 server cost as little as $8,000. That's a small price to pay to leave your PC network problems behind forever.

So keep your word processors, spreadsheets and PC utilities - we encourage you to do that. And if you feel you must, run ScotSys/2000 on you office PC network. But if you'll replace you PC server with an AS/400, you'll save a bundle of money and kiss network problems goodbye.

Where can I get information on an AS/400?
The most direct way is to contact Brent Herring at 501-228-9631. Brent has been working with our customers for many years, offering the best prices on AS/400s anywhere in the industry. Or you can e-mail us and we will make the call for you. Either way, you'll be getting all the information you need to make a sound business decision. 

Can I acquire ScotSys/2000 through the mail?
Yes! ScotSys/2000 is now available by mail and you will soon be able to download the software over the Internet and try it risk-free for twenty days. ScotSystems Inc. has recently finished and on-line manual, available over the Internet at http://www step by step instruction coupled with ample, free telephone support will make it possible for you to get your company up and running painlessly. We will be glad to provide you with a complete packaged price, including the AS/400 and/or a Pentium PC computer if you wish.

Can I run my windows programs on an AS/400?
You can attached personal computers and networks to your AS/400 and run them from there. Clients using the Windows/NT version instead, can utilize Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) to allow a client such as Access and Excel to interactively determine a servers capabilities and adapt the processing within the functions supported by the server.

Until now, the AS/400 was solely a proprietary computer system, which meant that only software designed for the AS/400 would run on the AS/400. Either way, you will still be able to run PC applications on your personal computers and you can share data between the PCs and the AS/400 easily. Client Access/400 is a software package that makes the PC to AS/400 integration appear almost transparent to the user.

What is meant by the term "Native AS/400 Applications"?
The AS/400 can be run in two environments. They are the "Native" and the "Sys/36" environment. The Sys/36 environment was included to allow AS/400 customers to continue to run their old Sys/36 programs on their new AS/400 until they could get them converted to the "Native" environment. Unfortunately, the cost of conversion to the Native environment was so expensive and time consuming, that most companies and their software suppliers didn't bother.

Many software companies still market their Sys/36 applications as "true" AS/400 applications. But they must be run on the AS/400 in the "Sys/36" environment and the performance is very disappointing. ScotSys/2000 is year 2000 ready AND is a truly "Native" AS/400 application. ScotSys/2000 also complies with IBM's System Application Architecture (SAA) environment. SAA compliance is important to allow seamless interfaces to other applications, such as EDI translators.

Can I hook up to my trading partners using ScotSys/2000
Yes! ScotSystems can provide you with an EDI translator from Harbinger Inc., a leader in EDI software development. Also, ScotSys/2000 will integrate with other EDI translators as well. 

How much is your software support?
At present, ScotSystems provides software support for ScotSys/2000 for only $2 ,413/year. There is no license fee. This is approximately half of the industry average at the moment. But ScotSystems feels that since our AS/400 customers call for support on average, only four times a year, the support is reasonably priced. The support cost covers, new software releases and bug fixes and unlimited telephone support during the term of the support agreement.

How much downtime may I expect?
On an AS/400, five hours per year! Personal computer network downtime  averages over 200 hours per year. ScotSys/2000 has evolved from a software package that is nearly 20 years old. The only problems with the software occur when we add new functions, and those are quickly perfected. The AS/400 hardware requires a service call, on average once every 18 months. Some customers go years without a service call. The IBM AS/400 and ScotSys/2000 make up a package that is the most stable wholesale distribution, oil marketer and convenience store system available anywhere in the world.

I keep hearing about "TCO" What does it mean?
TCO stands for "Total Cost of Ownership" and it's a big deal. I've been tracking and reporting TCO costs since 1992. The Gartner Group has recently reported that the TCO for a PC on a LAN has reached over $13,000/year. This means that if you have 5 PCs operating on a LAN, you are probably spending around $65,000 a year to keep them running. You'll find lots of information on TCO by going to our home page, clicking on "Business Plan" and looking at the Reference Materials link from there.

Your PC guys are going to tell you that TCO is a big plot to get rid of Microsoft. That's "job security" talking. TCO is increasing at a rate of 25% per year, and upper -level management is becoming seriously concerned about the impact TCO is having on their operations. The time is coming soon where buying a computer and software is going to be like buying a cow so you can have a glass of milk. TCO, second only to the Year 2000 fiasco, will eat your company up if you don't find some way to track it quickly. Then the next problem coming down the pipeline is "standards". This is going to be a real exciting decade.

(To Be Continued)

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