Kevin Wike, Manager of Application Development | PA Housing Financing



Pennsylvania Housing Financing

Transforming a mishmash of custom scripts by simplifying and automating file transfers with GoAnywhere has made a huge difference for Kevin and his team of nine developers. Now they use GoAnywhere exclusively for external file transfers with trading partners, as well as internal transfers among disparate systems.


My name is Kevin Wike I work for Pennsylvania Housing Financing, a finance agency. I am the manager of application development. I have 9 developers that work for us. We write mostly all custom codes at our agency. We're a quasi- state government agency and we kind of fulfill the same duties as a the bank does, but we have niche programs that private industry is not interested in, so our mission is to provide affordable housing for the state of Pennsylvania, to ensure that happens.


How are you using GoAnywhere?

We do a lot of data exchange with business partners where I work and when we first started doing that, we wrote our own custom routines, some were DOS-based some were written in Windows programs and some was done in the iSeries with custom code, and we had a mishmash of different ways of accomplishing it and over time that group got bigger and bigger and it was becoming unmanageable. So we decided to go with GoAnywhere and that is now our standard for any data interchange of data leaving the iSeries platform. And we even use it for internal transfers of data and like between the iSeries and our web server Windows servers; we push out documents to be consumed inside of the websites. So all the routines to do that type of data manipulation and movement-we do everything with GoAnywhere. We decided to use that as our standard and it's great now because we know where every data exchange project is, it's inside of GoAnywhere and it's self-documenting. So that has gotten huge. We literally have hundreds of different jobs that run. We use it for our EDI exchange, with insurance companies, data with banks, for our own website consumption, moving everything off the iSeries -- it's seamless. We tie it with another software package of Help/Systems Robot (Robot enterprise edition) and between those two packages working together, it's like we turn it on and it runs itself.

We don't just use the FTP, the SFTP procedures that are built into it. We use a lot of the functionality that's in GoAnywhere.

So the longer we have it, the more we discover what the capabilities are with the package, and then somebody will come up with a need, and we'll say before we write any code to do anything like this, let's check and see what GoAnywhere does, and most of the time, it has the ability to do it, and that's just getting better and better all the time.


How has the error reporting helped make your processes more efficient?

We know if something doesn't run correctly, we aware of it immediately. We have a lot of that built into our messaging capability, so pretty much when anything inside of GoAnywhere doesn't run, everybody that's on the programming staff knows about it immediately.

Sometimes we have stuff that is self-resetting, so if it doesn't run, it changes a parameter and then that causes it again to be invoked again at a certain timeframe later, to recover from that.


What impact has GoAnywhere had on your workflows?

A lot of times we embed those transfer routines right into our custom code. So we may have a batch routine that builds a file at a certain time of day or some kind of a trigger comes in and a file shows up in a folder which through Help/Systems Robot triggers a routine to run on the iSeries, and that CL program runs which may run a couple RPG programs and in turn at the very end we invoke a GoAnywhere procedure to transfer the data. So it's all really tied together tightly.


What would you say about the support you get from Linoma Software [now HelpSystems]?

Documentation is good, support staff is awesome. We've always had great support. We always get a reaction right away when we call. There's no wait time. You usually get through right away to somebody, so it's not like an eight-hour call back procedure, so support is awesome. And usually it's just something we're just not aware of that the package can do or maybe we're doing something incorrectly and I've never known of an issue where we didn't get the corrective action from the tech support, so we're extremely happy with it.


What else do you like about GoAnywhere?

The nice thing about this is we've probably hit every different kind of scenario that we do in our business, and we already have an existing example of it inside GoAnywhere. So many times these guys just copy a routine, change the parameters, and now this is the transfer routine for this company which is just a slight bit different from the other one, and they can have those up sometimes in a matter of an hour. Where before, you'd have to find the program, what it does, what kind of a transfer, was it DOS based or a Windows program, etc, etc. It took longer to do it before. This makes it very simple.

And its easy to go in and look at a project inside of GoAnywhere and break it down because of the way it's set up. It's so prompt driven, and it's very easy to figure out what's going on in the program. And like I said, it's self-documenting. That is what I like about it. You can go in and get an answer quickly when you have a question about what is this routine doing and it's not difficult to figure out.


What advice would you have for others looking for a file transfer solution?

I think it's priced fairly. The product does a lot more than most people are looking for, when they are getting software like this, for transferring data. It's capable of doing a lot of different things. Tech support is awesome.

What more could you ask for?