Mainframe Access – An Alternative to Java

Mainframe users generally rely on two methods for 3270 access to applications that reside on host systems. The first method is via fat client software, installed on an end user’s desktop. The second method is by way of third-party libraries that are downloaded directly to the desktop, (Java for example). In both cases there is a significant amount of “Care and Feeding” required, when dealing with software upgrades or Java/ Client compatibility matching. Due to all of the changes that have taken place in the Java world over the past year, this “Care and Feeding” has been extensive. The frequent Java code changes and version upgrades, coupled with “auto expiration” of previous versions during an upgrade, has made life challenging for both software developers and end users.

In a perfect world, mainframe users want to be able to utilize an emulation client that can connect quickly to the host, independent of the methodologies outlined above. With the advent of HTML5, those days are now here. HTML5 empowers software developers who are looking for a way to design a browser based solution that integrates expanded features and functionality. With the advent of a new markup language, this is now possible.

HTML5 emulation clients utilize cascading style sheets as their method for displaying “Green Screen” imagery in the browser. Coupling these new browser types with TLS, provides for a very stable and secure connection that is encrypted all the way from the browser to the host, and back. HTML5 clients eliminate time consuming requirement for component management on the desktop. HTML5 Client connections are stateful, since they utilize Web Sockets. In addition, power user functionality can now be written into an HTML5 Client. Functions such as Copy/Paste, Key Board customization, Cursor management and Macros are now all possible. User settings are stored at the server instead of the desktop, because of a browser’s architecture.

“Keeping it Simple” can have a powerful impact in terms of reducing support calls, enjoying freedom from download/upgrade requirements. HTML5 client, upgrades are performed at the server and they are seamless. Fewer desktop problems along with expanded emulation functionality is why mainframe managers should take a close look at an HTML5 emulation client.

For more information contact OpenConnect at 800.551.5881, or email me directly at

This Is What Success Looks Like…

Last week I had an opportunity to present alongside Sally Miller (VP of Operations at CareFirst) at the Healthcare Claims & Services Conference in Las Vegas.

The basis of the presentation was to review how CareFirst is continuously improving claims operation through the usage of analytics and automation (robots). While I can’t publically detail CareFirst’s outcomes, I will say the results they are receiving are very impressive. From a broad perspective, my observation is that CareFirst has taken action in three key areas that are leading them to exponential operational improvements.

Organizational Alignment

Sally and team are aligned to identify and execute operational improvements. Utilizing OpenConnect analytics, a team evaluates and prioritizes high ROI automation projects.

This team then documents the requirements and hands off to the robot scripting team. Then an operation team pushes the robots into production. This conviction to continue process improvement allows CareFirst to maximize investment in technology and people with a high rate of return.

Focus on high value automation

Once edit codes have been ranked, the teams focus on requirements and execution on the edit codes that will increase First Pass Rates (auto-adjudication). Using this value-lens, CareFirst operations can utilize robots to guide organizational improvement across the enterprise, and ultimately deliver both financial and service-level results back to their members and providers.

Not a single platform

Many payers only consider automation within their core system. However, the CareFirst team utilizes multi-platform robotic process automation to solve enterprise-wide challenges. This approach has led them into automation that includes mainframe, web services, and other types of platforms. They are currently working to automate new opportunities such as cash receipts, member/physician look up from third party applications, and other Blue Association applications.

We appreciate CareFirst as a customer utilizing OpenConnect solutions for analytics and automation. I for one am very impressed with their organizational approach for business improvement. Well done!