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Where Your IBM i Reporting System Falls Short and How to Address the Gaps

by | May 31, 2024 | IBM i Modernization

IBM i systems are indispensable to many organizations, providing strong data management and reporting capabilities. However, as business intelligence (BI) needs to evolve, so must the systems and tools used to extract, process, and present data. We will look into the prevalent challenges associated with IBM i reporting systems, explore potential enhancements through advanced BI tools, and introduce LANSA BI as a comprehensive solution to bridge these gaps.

What Are Current IBM i Reporting Practices Missing?

IBM i reporting systems are typically built on a series of processes that include:

  • Data Extraction: Collecting data from various sources within the IBM i environment.
  • Data Transformation: Cleaning, structuring, and preparing data for analysis.
  • Data Loading: Storing the transformed data in a format suitable for reporting.
  • Report Generation: Creating reports that stakeholders can use to inform decision-making.

These processes form a solid foundation, but their implementation is often lacking. How? Current IBM i reporting practices tend to fail because they’re unwieldy.

Many enterprises rely on external tools for data extraction, transformation, and loading. These systems don’t always integrate well. For instance, many report-generation frontends are completely independent of other BI elements. In these situations, simple data management can require custom coding, which doesn’t lend itself well to generating rapid insights.

Then, there is the fact that the individual tools themselves can be hard to use. For instance, it may take in-depth programming or query language knowledge just to explore a database table. This poses a major hurdle for executives and decision-makers. Even worse, current BI practices routinely incorporate some degree of data duplication — so you can’t be certain you’re working with accurate information even if you get over the query-writing hurdles.

These realities make business intelligence less effective and secure, but modern tools like LANSA BI buck the trend.

By offering well-rounded capabilities, a security-first focus, and easy integrations with other systems, LANSA BI keeps your focus on the data instead of on maintaining complex BI frameworks. No matter how your IBM i reporting practices work or what backends you prefer, your whole team can create custom interfaces in minutes and interact with data at their own pace. LANSA BI makes insight generation more accessible to stakeholders, covers your entire data ecosystem, and saves labor with intelligent, focused automation.

Identifying Weaknesses in Your IBM i Reporting Strategy

  • Poor Environmental Coverage: Achieving comprehensive reporting coverage across complex environments is challenging. Modern IT infrastructures often include multisystem, multi-partition, and multi-cloud setups, making thorough and accurate reporting difficult.
  • Imbalanced Features: Many reporting tools excel in one area but fall short in others, leading to inefficiencies and increased workloads for data professionals.
  • Misguided Automation: Automation can enhance BI processes, but some BI tools lack the flexibility to prevent data siloing, limiting the reporting system’s overall effectiveness.
  • Disconnect Between Raw Data and Useful Insights: Raw data often requires significant transformation before providing valuable insights. Poor data integration and limited dashboard customization can hinder this process.
  • Learning Curves That Impede Self-Service: Some IBM i reporting tools are too complex for non-technical users, making it difficult for them to explore and discover insights independently.
  • Inherent Insecurity: Data security is a critical concern. Reporting tools that expose sensitive information increase the risk of data breaches and compliance violations.

Exploring Opportunities

Advanced BI tools offer several opportunities to improve IBM i reporting systems:

  • Enhanced Compatibility: Modern BI tools integrate seamlessly with various applications and systems, creating a cohesive data ecosystem.
  • Streamlined Automation: Effective automation reduces manual workload and accelerates data processing.
  • Customizable Insights: Flexible dashboards and interactive data visualizations promote collaborative insights.
  • Intuitive Self-Service: User-friendly interfaces and guided queries empower all stakeholders to explore data independently.
  • Strong Security: Enhanced security features ensure data integrity and compliance with organizational standards.

LANSA BI as a Solution

LANSA BI addresses the weaknesses of traditional IBM i reporting systems by offering a comprehensive solution that amplifies BI capabilities:

  • Comprehensive Environmental Coverage: Supports multi-system, multi-partition, and multi-cloud setups, ensuring complete reporting coverage across diverse environments.
  • Balanced Feature Set: Provides a wide range of compatible tools and applications to meet diverse user needs, promoting a more democratic data environment.
  • Effective Automation and Integration: Integrates seamlessly with external applications and APIs, promoting real-time insights and data democratization.
  • Customizable and Intuitive Tools: Offers flexible dashboards, guided NLQ, and low-code options to simplify data exploration and reporting.
  • Secure and Embedded Analytics: Provides data security through native embedding and robust role-based access control, maintaining control over who sees what at every stage.


Choosing an IBM i reporting tool that does data analysis is one thing; finding an analytics solution that aligns strategically with your business objectives is another. LANSA BI addresses the weaknesses of traditional IBM i reporting systems by offering comprehensive environmental coverage, a balanced feature set, effective automation, customizable tools, and robust security features. By addressing these gaps, LANSA BI helps organizations achieve strategic alignment with their business objectives, ensuring that data truly serves your business goals.

To learn more about how LANSA BI can refine your IBM i reporting approach and enhance your BI capabilities, explore our mini demos and webinars, or visit the LANSA BI product page and contact us for more information. Book a demo today to see how LANSA BI can transform your reporting system and help your organization achieve its business intelligence goals.

Through these enhancements, LANSA BI not only fills the gaps left by traditional IBM i reporting systems but also paves the way for a more efficient, secure, and insightful BI process. By embracing advanced BI tools, organizations can unlock the full potential of their data, drive informed decision-making, and achieve a competitive edge in their respective industries.


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