Anchor Software stays steady with mainframers

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Anchor Computer is finding success now that its address-quality software solutions work with IBM Mainframes, in addition to UNIX and Microsoft Windows platforms.

Realizing a lack of products in the mainframe space, Anchor last year began offering MaxCASS, its CASS-certified (coding accuracy support system certified) solution for US Postal Service delivery addresses in a cross-platform way. MaxCASS updates mailing lists and customer databases with the most current and correct address information available from the USPS. Executable as a batch process for mailing lists or in real-time mode for quick address lookups, MaxCASS helps organizations stay in touch with their customers.

"We developed a product to compete in the mainframe arena," said Gary Siegel, president of Anchor Software. "We are now cross-platform."

Plano, TX-based Anchor Software LLC, is a leading provider of data processing software for data quality, direct marketing and document design.

Before Anchor entered the market, Pitney Bowes was the only vendor that offered mainframe-oriented postal software. Siegel said that companies now have a choice.

"We are the only company other than Group1/Pitney that offers those solutions on an IBM Mainframe," he said.

Siegel said that the cross-platform approach to the product was created - and the reason it is successful - because mainframes are still being used in the database marketing arena, although this might not be well known.

"Everybody says the mainframe is going away and that is a dinosaur," Siegel said. "Guess what; it's not. There are many, many companies using mainframe solutions, and they don't get off of them for a variety of reasons. But the main one is because the legacy systems that run on mainframes are so embedded within an organization that it would be monumental to shut off the mainframe."

Siegel said that similar to PCs, mainframes have grown in capacity over the years and that the power of the mainframe today is enormous. But, he said, the processing speeds have not grown that well. As a result, processing can be slow and laborious on mainframes.

"This has been a big problem recently, because a lot of mainframe users don't use processing-intensive systems like the USPS's Delivery Point Validation because of the performance issues," he said.

The DPV System assists mailers in obtaining accurate delivery address information, and facilitates identification of erroneous addressees contained in mailer address files. Mailer use of DPV will help to reduce the amount of undeliverable as addressed pieces, which in turn will result in more efficient postal mail processing and delivery operations.

"DPV slows down your machines," Siegel said. "We've been told that performance degrades by as much as 80 percent, and maybe typically 50 percent, when you go from a non-DPV CASS run to a CASS run with DPV. That's very, very serious."

Sigel said that the impact of speed is not as dramatic on PCs. It is around a 20 percent slower, he said.

Siegel said he believes the problem will become even worse on Aug. 1, when CASS Cycle L begins. At this time, mail pieces will only receive CASS-related discounts when the agency's DPV process confirms the primary number - or the first line - of the addresses.

Anchor's native processing solution users to submit jobs directly on a mainframe. The user's input and output files, as well as the application engine and all associated databases, physically reside and process on the mainframe.

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