September/October Industry News & Analysis

Networking Remains Technology’s Hottest Job Category

Chief information officers (CIOs) have rated networking as the nation’s hottest information technology (IT) specialty. In the semi-annual RHI Consulting "Hot Jobs Report," technology executives nationwide said demand for networking professionals remains strong with their organizations, with the job category receiving 22 percent of the vote. The need for help desk/end user support professionals intensified as CIOs ranked these technology skills second, rising to 16 percent, from 12 percent in March 1999. Internet/intranet development was identified as the third-most requested job skill, receiving 16 percent of the survey response.

The eight specialty areas experiencing the strongest growth in U.S. corporate IT departments, as ranked by CIOs, are:

"The request for experienced networking professionals to help maintain and expand network infrastructures remains strong," says Greg Scileppi, Executive Director of RHI Consulting. "Internet usage, a growing mobile workforce and emerging communication technologies are fueling the current need for systems upgrades and application deployment. For project management and systems analysis, network administrators, engineers and supervisors are the job titles most in demand nationwide.

Scileppi notes that for the first time, CIOs ranked help desk/end user support above Internet/intranet development as the second-most sought-after job category. "Companies are actively hiring local area network administrators who can support systems migration to Windows NT, as well as those who can maintain a newly implemented electronic commerce site."

The need for experienced Web site developers also remains solid. "As electronic commerce becomes more profitable, and companies conduct both external and internal business operations online, the number of jobs for Web administrators skilled in developing Internet and intranet applications will further escalate," Scileppi says. Job titles in the Internet category mentioned most frequently by CIOs include systems administrators and project managers.

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Attachmate Acquires Lanyon’s Connectivity Line

Attachmate, a provider of host access management solutions, has acquired the core connectivity technology and related development personnel from Lanyon Ltd. The acquisition leaves Lanyon, a supplier of both connectivity and applications technology for the travel industry, free to focus on the market for applications software for airlines, hotel chains and other parts of the industry.

The acquisition further solidifies a partnership that began in 1994. Attachmate and Lanyon have been helping airlines and other travel industry companies migrate mission-critical information from their proprietary communications networks to integrated systems based on standards, such as TCP/IP. The majority of the world’s major airlines currently use Attachmate’s software products to provide host access to IBM MVS and Unisys 2200 mainframes. These systems are typically used for reservations, cargo management and ticket printing. This signals a move by Attachmate to consolidate product availability and support from a single vendor to simplify customer acquisition and ongoing utilization of Attachmate’s solutions.

"The acquisition of Lanyon connectivity software gives Attachmate greater control of technology we’ve been licensing for some time," says Chris Buckingham, Vice President of Attachmate’s Unisys Group.

Attachmate’s worldwide support services will be available to the 100,000 people in over 60 countries who are already using Lanyon connectivity technology. Lanyon and Attachmate’s future product developments will be accelerated and will allow for innovations, such as adding tightly-integrated Java support and implementations of the MATIP industry standard.

For information about Attachmate products and services for Unisys or Airlines environments, contact Attachmate in Cincinnati at (800) 388-0322 or (513) 745-0500, or visit www.attachmate.com/unisys.

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Bell Microproducts to Market Unisys Midrange Servers

Bell Microproducts Inc. has entered into an agreement to market Unisys Corporation’s Aquanta ES enterprise servers. Bell Microproducts has distributed the Unisys high-end RAID and network-attached storage (NAS) solutions for the past three years. Adding the Aquanta ES server product line offers Bell Microproducts’ customers the opportunity to procure completely integrated Unisys solutions from one distribution source.

"We’ve marketed Unisys’ RAID products in both Ultra SCSI and Fibre Channel implementations for some time," says Phil Roussey, Bell Microproducts’ Senior Vice President of Computer Products Marketing. "Now Bell Microproducts is entering the midrange server arena, adding Unisys Aquanta ES servers for use in Windows NT environments where high performance, uninterrupted availability and ease of administration are key requirements.

This creates additional opportunities for Bell Microproducts and for Unisys storage systems." Bell Microproducts will immediately begin selling Unisys Aquanta servers through its network of solution providers throughout the U.S. and Canada.

For more information, visit Unisys’ Web site at www.unisys.com, or visit Bell Microproducts’ Web site at www.bellmicro.com.

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Unisys Acquires Publishing Partners, Adds Advertising

Unisys Corporation and Publishing Partners International (PPI) announced the signing of an agreement in which Unisys will acquire PPI, a privately held provider of advertising management software and services for the publishing industry.

By integrating PPI’s advertising component, Unisys will significantly expand the functionality of its rapidly growing publishing program. The current Unisys publishing solution provides a complete editorial, electronic pagination and archiving system.

The PPI acquisition is part of Unisys’ strategy to extend its leadership and growth in repeatable solutions for customers in target industries. Unisys repeatable solutions combine consulting and integration services with software components that can be assembled and modified quickly and cost-effectively to meet the customer’s specific business requirements. Unisys offers a portfolio of more than 30 repeatable solutions for publishing and other key market sectors.

For more information, visit www.unisys.com, or www.ppius.com.

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ARKDATA to Supply IRS

Swedish software company ARKDATA AB is to supply the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in Washington, D.C., with its Software Quality Assurance (SQA; change management and source control) system. Breaking into the American market with its SQA system for Unisys mainframe computers environment, this order from the IRS means that the SQA system will be used all over the United States. The initial order is for 2.3 MSEK.

ARKDATA specializes in taking care of systems that were developed during the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s in "traditional" environments, where the majority of the programs are developed in COBOL. After the turn of the century, the volume of orders is expected to increase substantially.

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Welcome UNITE Delegates

On behalf of the Board of Directors of UNITE, welcome to the Minneapolis Fall Technical Conference. This is your opportunity to meet old friends, make new friends, and, most importantly, be a participant in the transferring of information.

For this particular conference, I believe you have many areas to check out. My background has been based on the proverbial mainframe. But you know, when I review the topics being presented in these areas, they have really changed over the past years. I like the term "Enterprise Server." When I look at the agendas for the NX and IX working groups, they contain numerous sessions that a couple of years ago would only have been in a UNIX or NT environment. Can you believe a session titled "Java for the MCP" or "Did I Hear There Would Be Java On The HMP IX?" I think it is great when true enterprise class systems have the ability to interface to desktops in a way that had been dominated by UNIX, NT, etc. Our historic enterprise servers are fully capable of running the large legacy applications, and now they effectively communicate and welcome "Open Interfaces."

Another subject, we are continually attempting to improve UNITE. I don’t know for sure if we will know when we have improved anything, but we try. At this time, I guess I would say that if we can get more delegates to attend our conferences, then we have improved. With this in mind, we are always looking for your input. Unfortunately, we have to work on scheduling a conference over time. These time frames can and do make it difficult to react quickly sometimes.

The working group officers for UNITE have been in the process of putting together the sessions for this conference for a year. Yes, when we were in Reno last fall, the initial planning sessions for this conference were held. Then in Irvine, these people met again and actually scheduled the various sessions. After the Irvine Technical Symposium, only minor modifications have been made. I point this out in an attempt help you understand why your timely feedback is so important. The working group officers and the UNITE Board of Directors continually strive to put on the best conference possible. However, we are human, and, as such, we do miss items of importance.

Historically, we have always asked for presentations from the delegates, as opposed to all Unisys and vendors. When you hear that we start planning a conference a full year out, your first thought is to dismiss doing any presentations, because you don’t know what you will be excited about in 12 months. I understand completely. So, to clarify a little bit, we will accept suggestions for topics at any time. If we need to look for a speaker, the year lead-time may be necessary. However, if you or someone from your company would like to present, we would like an abstract in the fall for the following spring, or the spring for the following fall. If the abstract is not complete, we do have some time after the conference to dress up the abstract and make it more appealing to an audience. Please note that the most important thing is to get scheduled, and then you can dress up the abstract to be more appealing.

I mentioned earlier that your feedback is important to us. We review session comment cards, and this time there should be a conference evaluation feedback form. Please give us your input. Fill out the forms and return them for our review.

During this conference, our volunteer group of officers will finalize the Spring 2000 Technical Symposium. This is your opportunity to make any final requests for the Spring 2000 Technical Symposium. Please make the working group officers aware of any areas or particular subjects you would like to see addressed in future conferences.

Paul R. Woitzel

Vice-Chairman of the Board, UNITE

 

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Business Partnership a Win-Win for Eagle and Unisys

By Jon William Toigo

Traditionally, business partnerships between large IT vendors and smaller providers of software and services have been tenuous at best. Despite the lip service paid by vendors to the value of channels, the implementation left a lot to be desired. The end result was riddled with channel conflict and was disappointing for both sides.

These relationships, however, are changing. Whether the result of downsizing, increases in competition or the need for the expertise embodied in the partner, many IT vendors, including Unisys, have re-discovered the importance of channels to maintaining and growing market share.

According to Rick Carbone, Vice President of Business Partner Sales for Unisys, the company came to this conclusion approximately two years ago. Since that time, Carbone has worked to change the culture at Unisys, to cultivate closer working relationships between direct sales and its business partners, and, in the process, to increase the volume of sales revenues derived from Unisys channel partnerships. For example, he regards the relationship of the vendor with business partner, Eagle Computer Associates, as a symbol of the new Unisys Business Partner model.

Eagle Computer Associates, headquartered in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, is a Unisys Value Added Reseller, specializing in software and services focused on the worldwide Unisys marketplace. Stephen J. Marengo, President and CEO of Eagle, points out, "Our company was built to service the Unisys customer base. Our goal is to maximize our clients’ IT investment."

Bob Gordon, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Eagle, has noticed a significant increase in Unisys-generated opportunities. "Up until two years ago most of our opportunities were the result of our own efforts." Eagle has worked with the Unisys LINC product since their inception in 1994. They have developed valuable insight into the LINC market space. They are finalizing plans for the first Worldwide LINC Users Conference to be held in Spring 1999. Their EAGLE PLUS product is currently in use in many LINC sites. Gordon adds, "Over the last 18 months, Rick Carbone’s group has successfully promoted the use of partnerships. ‘Value Add’ is the key. Our capabilities in migration, training, capacity planning and consulting, coupled with our product suite, represent a significant benefit for the Unisys customer."

Carbone notes that Eagle was one of 43 business partners that survived his restructuring of Unisys’ more than 700 company business partner program, "We looked at the existing relationships and asked, ‘Whom do we really want to partner with? Will the partner enable us to expand our presence in existing markets or help us to enter new markets or to open new lines of business?’ Some Business Partners, like Eagle, do both." Marengo adds, "As a company, we have experienced triple-digit growth over the last two years. Revenue attributed to our Unisys Partnership will exceed $7 million this year"

Greg Scalley, a Unisys Sales Account Executive responsible for facilitating the relationship between the vendor and Eagle Computer Associates, expresses little surprise at the mutually beneficial relationship that has developed between the Business Partners, "Eagle supplements Unisys with a set of skills that are not widely available within our organization. They have expertise in our proprietary platforms. They offer integration services, including business reengineering, migration services and capacity analysis. This provides new opportunities for Unisys."

Scalley adds that the value of the relationship is evidenced by the many sales opportunities that the two companies have been able to develop. That, in the final analysis, defines an effective business partnership.

Tom Fabian, Vice President of Professional Services at Eagle, agrees that changing times have strengthened the relationship with Unisys. "I think that Unisys determined that they couldn’t cover it all. From a marketing perspective, they started to use us as an extension of their sales force. From a services standpoint, that meant that they could utilize our support in a broader range of service areas."

Today, says Fabian, while expertise in the LINC product on both Unisys mainframe and distributed platforms remains a significant driver of corporate revenues, Eagle Computer Associates has also gained a reputation as "a top notch service provider."

Of the company’s more than 300 customers, says Gordon, "Work is fairly divided between LINC-related projects and such diverse services as migration planning, Y2K compliance and verification, training on Unisys products, including ClearPath and LINC, and performance and capacity analysis."

Of special significance to both Unisys and Eagle has been the partner’s ability "to maintain a Unisys software presence even in customer shops that are migrating to competitor hardware platforms," Scalley notes.

"We are seeing a movement in many customer shops to open platforms," says Fabian, "While some customers are waiting for assurances about Microsoft NT Servers, many are already migrating to UNIX. We offer a range of performance services that can facilitate the legacy-to-open systems migration, but we can also often demonstrate the continuing value of using Unisys software."

Senior management at Eagle Computer Associates have decades of experience with Unisys, as employees and customers. They are unanimous in their approval of the new partner model advanced by Carbone, which, according to Marengo, "has truly changed the channel relationship from one of competition to one of partnership."

Marengo sums up the partnership with Unisys, "The relationship allows us to leverage each other’s strengths, thereby increasing the revenue and profitability of both companies. That is a win-win."