The cost of mailing reports to these branches was more than an annoyance: According to John West, data center manager at Rollins, postage costs alone often exceeded $100,000 per year. These reports were manually created, printed, sorted and bundled, and then mailed. West says it took eight accounting employees two days to get the reports out, adding to the expense. Old documentation was stored on microfiche, which was time-consuming and outdated. "We were basically in the Stone Age," says West.
Recognizing the need to become automated, Rollins moved to the AS/400 environment about 18 months ago, says West. Because the company's data center was running on technology that was essentially 20 years old, Rollins' options were numerous almost any package would be an improvement. After reviewing several choices, West assembled a team from the data center that joined forces with Magellan Software to bring Rollins' technology up to date.
Rollins started by implementing SpyView to automate the report distribution system. SpyView electronically separates Rollins' reports and bundles them for mailing to the individual branches, taking the manual-labor aspect out of this complex activity. "The reports are ready in one day," says West. "That was the immediate benefit we saved two days worth of work for eight people, and got the reports out quicker." West adds that when the company replaces its dial-up network with a frame relay system next month, Rollins will be even more efficient. "When we have frame relay, we'll be sending these reports to the customers electronically. We'll probably save a couple hundred thousand dollars per year on postage."
Mail distribution is not the only area that will see improvement at Rollins. The company has also installed Magellan's SpyImage system to let it retire its antiquated microfiche system. SpyImage will automatically check the DASD for data that hasn't been used after a certain amount of time and store it optically. The software also builds pointers on the system to allow quick retrieval of archived data. Transparent to the user, the pointers make vast amounts of archival data as readily available as active data. West says the SpyImage system is "much more cost-effective than DASD."
Rollins doesn't yet have a Web system but is planning to set one up in the near future with Magellan's SpyView/Web package. By making reports available on the Web, West says, off-site users will be able to instantly access whatever information they need. He adds that, when frame relay is set up, all the branch offices will be interconnected, and Rollins might even establish an NT server on the AS/400 to further integrate the company's data. While the improvements already made by Magellan at Rollins are impressive, the final package with total integration of all the company's data will be state-of-the-art. West says Rollins plans to install five more AS/400s, all running Magellan's software, at the main office within the next five years.