VF Corporation uses OfficePath/SMTP to deliver z/OS application data to Lotus Domino

VF Corporation, based in Greensboro N.C., is one of the largest apparel manufacturers in the world. For 100 years, it has grown by offering consumers high quality, high value branded apparel. Through its Lee, Wrangler, Rustler, Riders and Britannia brands, VF holds nearly a third of the U.S. jeans market, while Vanity Fair is the leading intimate apparel brand in department stores.

Like most large organizations, the use of e-mail is a mission critical application. VF has been a committed user of IBM’s OfficeVision product for its mainframe users for many years and has developed many sophisticated integration routines between its mainframe application systems and e-mail to streamline delivery of application information to its users. In addition, Lotus cc:Mail LAN based e-mail was introduced at an early stage for PC user base.

When VF made the decision to upgrade their e-mail infrastructure to a Lotus Notes/Domino-based network, the user population gradually began to migrate from OfficeVision and cc:Mail to Notes. Once completed, there would be around 80 Lotus Notes servers distributed across the worldwide network, supporting some 15,000 users.

One issue that arose in this migration was the requirement to maintain existing links with legacy applications on the mainframe. Mainframe data had traditionally been delivered through a mail-enabling interface called OfficePath/SNADS, a mainframe process that would convert a batch application report into an e-mail message, then deliver it to the user using OfficeVision's SNADS-based e-mail network.

Without OfficeVision users, it became prohibitively expensive and cumbersome to maintain the existing SNADS infrastructure. It required CICS to run on the mainframe, SNADS for the message transport, as well as a SNADS gateway to Lotus Domino. After evaluating its options, VF chose to replace the mainframe mail-enabling interface with OfficePath/SMTP.

OfficePath/SMTP allows VF's existing mail enabled applications to send e-mail messages through SMTP on the mainframe, rather than through the original CICS and SNADS environment. This allows mainframe messages to be sent both to Lotus Notes users as well as across the Internet. "As the OfficePath/SMTP interfaces are plug-compatible with the original application there was virtually no migration needed," comments Jim Klinger of VF’s e-mail team.

OfficePath/SMTP has been successfully implemented and OfficeVision now decommissioned, allowing VF users to continue to receive e-mailed application data from the mainframe directly into their Lotus Notes inbox, with a significant reduction in overhead and associated cost.





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