Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to visit with Marinus and his people at TEMBO to understand their modernization technologies for IBM i installations. I also had the opportunity to meet with some of the IBM i customers they have helped to modernize their applications. I was especially impressed with the work TEMBO has done with migrations to SQL (DB2) databases. I can highly recommend Marinus and TEMBO to any IBM i customer who wants or needs to move their applications into the 21st century.

Dr. Frank Soltis, Retired Chief Scientist and “Father” of the AS/400 and S/38 architecture
IBM USA (Retired)

When I spoke with the people at TEMBO and looked closely at their technology, I was impressed. I could tell that the people I spoke with really knew what they were talking about, and the company has built a well-thought-out framework for helping companies modernize their databases.

It is clear that the people from TEMBO are dedicated and knowledgeable, and they are great teachers. They all come from programming backgrounds
and know full well the challenges we deal with.

They are always eager to share their knowledge; plus, I can go to their website and download extensive guides and tons of program templates that are all open source. They have no hesitation of opening up their vast how-to knowledge to the public. I have never seen anything like that from the bigger software vendors.

Bernard Côté, MIS Director
American Biltrite Canada Ltd

“I’ll never forget what he told me,” says Michele. “Neil said: ‘Instead of just focusing on changing field size, have you thought about modernizing your database so that in the future you can actually change something like field size without having to modify thousands of programs?’

I was amazed to hear this was even possible. Neil put us in touch with TEMBO, and we began to learn about the myriad ways our applications could benefit from modernizing our massive database.

Our initial conversations with TEMBO about database modernization rapidly became an in-depth discussion about modernizing our entire software development effort. It became clear that database modernization was one component of a broader modernization effort that would be required to gain the efficiencies we need for our software development projects. We were also reminded about the value of the information and knowledge that’s been accumulated within our programs and database over the years, and how much of that might be lost if we started over on another platform.

We have started to buy licenses for RDi and freeform RPG and roll these out to our developers, asking each developer to spend 10 percent of their time, or four hours a week, learning something about modernization and then trying it out. We hold regular ‘modernization’ meetings with the developers to answer questions, discuss issues, and keep everyone motivated. Whether it’s service programs, normalization, constraints, triggers, activation groups, commitment control, or DDS-to-DDL, we’re tracking how each developer increases his or her knowledge in these areas of modernization. Concurrently, we do weekly calls with our TEMBO consultant, who answers questions, reviews our development standards, and addresses any issues we encounter. As a team, we regularly decide on an area of the code or database to focus on modernizing and work together to get it done.

I’m seeing a spirit of rejuvenation among our developers, especially the more experienced ones. It’s great to see them excited as they learn about modernization and experience the difference it makes in their work. Certainly, many of the larger benefits of our modernization effort are still to come, but we’re seeing tangible results today. One example is the creation of service programs that work across multiple applications; for instance, we have one that monitors for errors and another that validates email addresses.

Best of all, we feel we’re on a path to a future in which we’ll be able to do so much more with the decades of accumulated functionality in our programs and the valuable business information we have in our database. I’m confident that in time our ongoing modernization effort will shift the majority of our development time away from maintenance tasks and toward the creation of new functionality for the company.

Michele Wilborn, Director of Information Services
Averitt Express, Inc

We attended TEMBO’s Modernization Workshop in 2016 and found their road-map for IBM i application modernization to be remarkably in alignment with ours. I endorse it. Its adoption would surely lead to a bright future for the IBM i platform.

Nathan M. Andelin, President
Relational Data LLC

Our professional team has been serving customers from SMBs to large multi-national corporations with IBM i application integrations, modernizations, and managed services for more than 20 years.

We have evaluated and implemented many approaches, most met or exceeded the expectations, and there were those that didn’t work out for various reasons. Over time we developed recipes and best practices for this complex class of projects.

The AO modernization roadmap aligns very well with our technology and execution approach and takes it further by packaging the tools, methodology, along with comprehensive training curriculum for incremental revitalization of the application database and related application layers. AO accelerates and streamlines the key phases of a typical modernization journey, from discovery and data analysis, to development and post go-live operations.

Last but certainly not least, we appreciate the integrity of the Tembo team and leadership, their commitment to the IBM i platform, and firm focus on long term business outcomes for customers and partners. As a service delivery and distribution partner our experience collaborating with Marinus and Tommy has been a very positive one.

Dmitriy Kuznetsov, VP Integration and Cloud Solutions
Infoview Systems

Been part of the Advanced Modernization Workshop WebEx sessions in 2016 and loved the focus it placed on Data Centric Modernization concepts. The workshop explained very well the methods to tackle the complexity involved in modernizing legacy applications. The passion and skill the TEMBO team possess had quite a positive influence on me. Also my love for the IBM i platform has increased post the workshop. I refer back to the workshop recordings regularly to apply/reinforce the concepts to the solutions provided to our customers.

Prashob Nadukandi, TOGAF 9 Certified for Enterprise Architecture, Lead Engineer-1
Scientific Games

TEMBO is a supplier of software for IBM i, in my opinion they operate their business with an abundance of integrity and transparency. Their core product helps companies achieve their DB goals by providing a combination of automation and administration to the role of the DBA/DBE. As their distributor I find them ever ready with support in the form of demonstrations for prospects and service for customers. I’m glad to be associated with them and I’m sure others will realize what I already know.

Neil Woodhams, President
Databorough Services Ltd

Thanks to TEMBO for inviting our team to its Advanced Modernization Workshop. TEMBO offers a unique, two-pronged approach to modernizing IBM i legacy applications – one aimed at the DB and the other addresses the UI. The modernization process can start with either or both, which gives flexibility to the customer. I’d strongly recommend that any IBM i shop that wants to modernize its legacy applications should evaluate the TEMBO approach before finalizing its strategy.


Mahesh Kulkarni, Managing Director
GN Solutions

We found the people at TEMBO as very honest and their support great. They are also very knowledgeable and experienced with RDi, DB2 for i and ILE-RPG. We enjoy working with them and it is obvious that they enjoy helping their clients.

Marina Shulman, Senior Programmer/Analyst
Smalley Steel Ring Inc.

Cape Gate / Tembo experience (2010 – 2014)


Cape Gate started investigating IBM modernisation in 2009.  During 2010 a stategic workshop was set up with TEMBO to discuss Cape Gate’s roadmap to modernisation. It was then decided to do ‘backend’ modernisation first, meaning converting DDS to SQL and then modernise programming techniques using modern development tools such as RDi.

Modernisation workshops:

During 2011, the Cape Gate IBM development team attended Modernisation workshops, presented by Tommy Atkins of TEMBO.

The workshops were of great value, as we were then in the process of planning modernisation on the IBM.  The developers were introduced to RPD (now RDi) as this was to be our new development interface. The workshops also covered topics such as: database considerations when using DDL,  programming in RPG ILE (free format) explaining pointers, user spaces/Indexes, etc. We appreciated the lecturers by Tommy (and his unique way)  of presenting the workshops and sharing tips, references and guidance regarding standards.

DDS to SQL conversion, Training:

During April 2012, the Cape Gate IBM database was converted from DDS to SQL with software by TEMBO,  AO foundation. The copying of the files were done with AO software. No file level ID’s changed, thus no re-compile of programs required.

When we started the project of converting files from DDS to SQL, it was important for Cape Gate to have a data dictionary – so as to define a company attribute once and then to be used in all tables. The development team of TEMBO , especially Tommy Atkins, listen to our requirements and incorporated it in the development of the data dictionary management of AO.  Any requests/changes that we submitted was attended to in acceptable time.

Any future creation / modification of tables to be done via AO software, using the data dictionary.

After the file conversions, Cape Gate together with TEMBO set up a training program to familiarise developer’s with new programming techniques and how to use the AO management system. The training run during 2013 on a weekly / bi-weekly basis  presented by Tommy Atkins. Whenever one of the developers had a question / problem, it was dealt with urgency.

Unfortunately, the development on the IBM at Cape Gate was suspended in 2014.  Although the IBM modernisation project was well on track, a top-management decision was made to implement an ERP system as a generic system was required with external support as opposed to an in-house supported system.

We only had good experiences with TEMBO and their team during our  engagement with them.

Thank you guys!

Anna-Marie Jacobs, IT Systems Manager
Cape Gate

Due to the age of the OVK system and the spaghetti nature of the Cobol code , the list of outstanding system program requests became unacceptable for OVK’s management and the users were frustrated by the delays and long time to complete service requests for system changes. When we came to the point to integrate a large subsidiary into the main system, we had no alternative to investigate modernization for rapid programming development and agility.

As I know the founder Marinus van Sandwyk of TEMBO Technologies for more than twenty five years, we approached TEMBO to assist us with training, modernization of our database and the streamlining of our system. The initial estimated timeline of the whole project was 18 months, but with the professional help of the TEMBO staff and a specialised tool (Adsero Optima) we managed to complete it in 6 months.

It was a big pleasure working with them and the intensive and valuable knowledge that the OVK programming staff gained through this whole project could not be described in words.

Thank you TEMBO!

Pieter Scholtz, Information Technology
OVK Trade Limited

Applying skills acquired by attending an advanced modernization workshop presented by TEMBO, Momentum was able to redesign a problematic data integration project and reduce the runtime from 20 hours to 20 minutes.

Carl Conradie, Enterprise Architect

Since 1986, my company developed application solutions on IBM midrange equipment for a variety of clients in the South African marketplace. In 2008, we had a challenge regarding modernization at a large construction company. I found it particularly daunting breaking away from the years of doing development the ‘IBM-RPG-way’. Marinus and his team did not only assist our team members; they enabled us, coached us and hand-held us to ultimately present two possible solutions to our client. During this project, I learned that Marinus valued going the extra mile more than the sale. The time, effort and resources TEMBO contributed to our project without any compensation were immense.

This same commitment and sacrifice I experienced from Marinus when he assisted us in our attempts to establish COMMON Africa, the IBM user group, in South Africa. I was a committee member of COMMON Africa and Marinus sponsored facilities, overseas speakers and, from his extensive network of resourceful people, provided contact with key role players, locally and overseas.

Marinus and I share the same passion for the success and longevity of the IBM-i platform. TEMBO lived out this passion, by empowering clients through the delivery of free workshops to the installed base. We benefitted from a series of modernization training workshops presented by the TEMBO team, who unselfishly shared tips, techniques, coding examples and other skills. Their focus on the AO Foundation solution is another example of providing a solution to companies to remain technologically relevant, and at the same time protecting years of application investment.

I trust Marinus and his team. They value long term relationships, based on integrity and with a unique attribute I have not experienced with many individuals, nevertheless companies; they are grateful to be helpful.

Hannes Smit, Owner
Synergy Consulting
2008 – 2013

TEMBO, our very committed local service provider, is easy to be reached for service and support, and they are always prepared to walk the extra mile.

Eliene Van Biljon, IT Manager
Cape Gate

TEMBO certainly pushed our company beyond our limits and expanded Procuro’s horizons with new opportunities in developing systems for our market. The modernization project added at least 7 more years to the longevity of our current insurance solution, and income on short term insurance from clients grew by 6.25%.  This is the essence of our modernization project.

Heinrich Smit, CEO
Procuro Systems

Marinus is very passionate about his work; he takes pride in all he does. He is methodical in his approach. He has a very professional and strong team. It was a pleasure to work with him and given an opportunity I will work with him again.

Keneiloe Moabelo,  Project Manager
Hyphen Technology (Pty) Limited