July/August Industry News

Technology Hiring to Increase in Third Quarter

An independent study conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC) demonstrates that Unisys ClearPath enterprise servers are superior to IBM System/390 and high-end UNIX systems for large-scale, I/O-intensive online transaction processing (OLTP) applications.

The study, published in an IDC Bulletin, draws on other data to suggest that staffing costs to support a Unisys ClearPath system in an OLTP application are lower than those required to support an IBM System/390 or UNIX computer for the same application.

IDC was impressed by the Heterogeneous Multi Processing (HMP) architecture that is the foundation of ClearPath, allowing direct and seamless access to the mainframe data from Windows NT and UnixWare applications. According to IDC, this allows users to develop new applications on Windows NT and UnixWare around the mainframe and directly access mainframe data without some of the high overheads of client/server processing.

IDC Bulletin 18086, entitled "Unisys ClearPath Mainframes Continue to Surprise," was published as part of IDC’s Commercial Systems and Servers service. The bulletin is available on the Unisys ClearPath Web site at www.marketplace.unisys.com/clearpath/techlibrary/papers/idcbulletin.html.


Unisys and INSCI Expand 8-Year Partnership

Unisys Corporation and INSCI Corp. jointly announced that the two companies have reached an agreement to integrate INSCI’s suite of document repository and output management solutions with the Unisys series of ClearPath enterprise servers.

"The incorporation of INSCI technology into our standard operating environment further demonstrates Unisys commitment to electronic business and enhances the position of ClearPath Systems as the best of breed servers for supporting these applications," said Brian Hadfield, Vice President and General Manager of the Unisys ClearPath Business Initiative.

"Clients will be able to implement enhanced customer care and electronic bill presentment, as well as provide Web-based access to services such as invoice and statement review by their ultimate end users," Hadfield said.

The full integration of COINSERV and ClearPath will occur in two phases. The initial phase involves marketing and integration of COINSERV for Windows NT (and WebCOINS Web browser) to the existing worldwide installed base of ClearPath users. The second phase, scheduled for implementation in the fourth quarter of 1999, will provide new Unisys ClearPath users with the option of having the INSCI solution packaged and shipped with their ClearPath systems.

For more information about INSCI, visit its home page on the Internet at www.insci.com.


Unisys Redeems 6 Million Shares of Preferred Stock

Unisys Corporation has completed its call of 6 million shares of its Series A Cumulative Convertible Preferred Stock. Approximately 5.7 million shares of preferred stock were converted into common stock during the call period. The company used less than $14 million in cash for redemption.

"With the completion of this call, we have now eliminated more than half of the preferred shares that were outstanding at the beginning of the year," reports Unisys Chairman and CEO Lawrence A. Weinbach. "This effort has cut our annual preferred dividend payments by more than $53 million. We will continue to be aggressive in pursuing opportunities to strengthen our financial structure and return Unisys to investment-grade status."

Unisys says that, based on the 5.7 million shares of preferred stock that were converted during the call period, it had issued 9.6 million shares of common stock, increasing the number of common shares outstanding to approximately 283 million. The company said it now has about 13.5 million shares of Series A preferred stock outstanding.

For more information on Unisys, visit www.unisys.com, or for investor information, visit www.unisys.com/investor.


Unisys Unveils a Comprehensive Electronic Commerce Solution

Unisys announced Unisys Federal Online, a fully integrated, electronic commerce system for the federal government information technology market. This new acquisition system features 24 to 48 hour delivery of products, the ability to search different contracts and the open market, and an instant callback feature that allows a buyer to receive free, real-time telephone technical assistance.

Unisys Federal Online offers access to more than 100,000 computer and networking products from 1,200 name-brand manufacturers.

Federal government IT buyers can electronically search for products on the GSA Schedule, the open market or other government-wide acquisition contracts (GWACs); compare prices and specifications; purchase products electronically; and receive delivery of in-stock products anywhere in the United States within 24 to 48 hours. During business hours, buyers have access to instantaneous, free telephone technical assistance, just by clicking a button on their computer.

For additional information, visit www.unisysfederalonline.com.


Technology Hiring to Increase in Third Quarter

Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are expecting continued strong hiring in the next three months, according to RHI Consulting’s quarterly Information Technology (IT) Hiring Index. Thirty-one percent of CIOs plan to hire additional IT personnel in the third quarter of 1999, while just 3 percent anticipate staff reductions.

Sixty-five percent of CIOs forecast no change in their current hiring levels. The net 28 percent increase in staffing activity is up one percentage point from the prior quarter.

The national poll includes responses from 1,400 CIOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 100 or more employees. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by RHI Consulting, a consulting services firm.

Firms in the Pacific states expect particularly robust hiring activity during the third quarter, according to the CIOs surveyed.

Forty-two percent of respondents anticipate adding IT staff, while 3 percent plan to reduce personnel. The resulting net 39 percent increase in hiring is up 12 percentage points from the second-quarter forecast.

"The Pacific region is experiencing solid economic and employment growth," says Greg Scileppi Executive Director of RHI Consulting. "Businesses in Northern and Southern California are hiring information technology professionals to accommodate expansion in high-tech manufacturing and services, new media and business services. In Washington, IT hiring is strong among biotechnology and high-tech firms."

CIOs in New England project a net 36 percent increase in the hiring of technology professionals.

"Massachusetts leads the region in IT hiring due to the abundance of high-tech related businesses located there," Scileppi notes. "New England is also benefiting from strength in the financial services sector where IT professionals are in demand to implement Web-based initiatives."

Hiring projections are at or above the national average in the Mountain region, where the expected net 34 percent increase in hiring is up 11 percentage points from the second quarter, and the West North Central and East North Central states forecast a net 31 percent increase in staffing activity.

Among all industries surveyed, finance, insurance and real estate firms plan the most active IT hiring. Forty-three percent of respondents from this sector anticipate adding IT personnel in the third quarter, while just 1 percent foresee cutbacks. The resulting net 42 percent increase in hiring is 14 percentage points above the national average.

For more information, visit RHI Consulting’s Web site at www.rhic.com.


UNITE Is a Bargain!

Most of you who are regular readers of Unisphere have probably heard about UNITE. UNITE is your Unisys user organization. UNITE is dedicated to bringing current and potential customers of Unisys together with Unisys and complementary vendors.

UNITE produces two gatherings every year, a Fall Technology Conference and a Spring Technical Symposium. Many of you have probably attended these UNITE meetings or meetings of its predecessor organizations, CUBE and USE. Though you may be familiar with UNITE, you may not realize what a bargain the registration fee for UNITE is, especially in comparison to what it costs to register for user conferences for other vendors.

Let me give you a few examples. To register for Tech Ed, the conference for Microsoft users, costs $895 for three days and $1,395 for five days. To register for DECUS, the DEC user conference, costs $1,395 for four days. To register for the IBM AS/400 Technical Conference costs $1,395 for five days and for the IBM IMS Technical Conference the cost is $1,495 for four days.

Compare these to the $650 registration fee for the three-day UNITE Fall 1999 Technology Conference and the $675 for the two-and-a-half-day UNITE Spring 2000 Technical Symposium. UNITE is a bargain! The UNITE fee even includes many of your meals!

It’s no accident that UNITE is such a bargain. UNITE is a not-for-profit organization. It isn’t trying to make money off its attendees like so many of the other conference producers. Its goal in setting the registration fees is to collect just enough revenue to pay expenses and maintain a reasonable reserve to handle contingencies.

Setting the registration fee is one of the most difficult jobs the UNITE Board of Directors has. Vice Chairman and Secretary/Treasurer Paul Woitzel and Chief Operating Officer Mary Lou Regan spend days and weeks gathering and categorizing expenses, making cost projections and preparing budgets. All that information is entered into spreadsheets. Income and expense projections are made for various attendance figures. Budgets for past conferences are evaluated. How close did their budgets come to reality? All of this information is discussed and evaluated by the entire UNITE Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors must attempt to project how many people will attend the conference. Conference attendance has a major affect on what the registration fee needs to be to achieve the modest financial goals.

To project attendance the Board looks at many things. How many people attended past conferences? Is attendance increasing or decreasing? How will the Unisys Customer Appreciation Event affect attendance? Are there new product announcements from Unisys that will increase interest in the conference?

Are there any outside influences that will affect attendance? Will attendance be lower this Fall because people will be staying home to attend to Y2K? Or, will attendance be higher because most people will be done with Y2K by October 18, 1999?

How will the conference location affect attendance? Will more people attend the Minneapolis Conference because of the great facilities and friendly people? Will they be attracted by presence of the Mall of America? Or, will people think October in Minnesota is cold and not remember the great Fall colors?

Once the Board has evaluated all the possibilities and agreed on a projected attendance figure and that the budget is reasonable, it sets the registration fee. It strikes the best balance it can between setting the fee as low as possible without setting the fee so low that it endangers the financial health of the organization.

UNITE doesn’t want profit. It wants high attendance and good value for its members. That’s why UNITE continues to be such a bargain in comparison to so many other conferences.

Marian Ritland, UNITE Board of Directors