Packaged AS/400 Apps Take on NT in Domino Market

In an effort to compete with Windows NT in the Domino server market, IBM has joined up with business partners Binary Tree, Clear Technologies and Emerging Technologies Solutions to offer customers three new end-to-end e-business solutions for the AS/400 Dedicated Server for Domino (DSD).

“We want to allow users to take advantage of the success that each of these Domino Solutions have had on their own, get solid, reliable AS/400 with these applications, and leverage Domino, which is an extremely valuable tool,” says Venida Hudley, a representative for IBM Global AS/400 Marketing for Small to Medium Businesses.

The three products offer a combination of hardware, software and services and are designed to be a more reliable and affordable alternative to Windows NT for small and mid-sized customers looking to connect their back office to the Internet. Hudley says she sees a growing demand for such tools among IBM customers.

“As this Internet wave continues to grow, people are going to stop focusing entirely on their Web page and start thinking about connecting their back office to their front end,” she explains.

Each package includes IBM’s AS/400e Dedicated Server for Domino, a system specifically designed to run Lotus Domino applications. Depending on their size and business needs, customers can then choose from among three available software packages.

DSD Merchant from Binary Tree (New York) is described by Hudley as an attractively priced e-commerce “starter solution.” The package includes Binary Tree’s ezMerchant Enterprise Edition 2.0 e-commerce product suite and may include installation, training or site design services. DSD Merchant allows businesses to create electronic storefronts and business-to-business e-commerce sites. Pricing starts at $89,000.

Clear Technologies (Coppell, Texas) offers DSD engage, a sales force automation system providing easy installation and implementation, according to Hudley. It is an Enterprise CRM solution which can interface with existing legacy systems and which enables companies to share critical sales information and improve customer focus. A 20-user license is priced at $35,000.

The third option, from Emerging Technologies Solutions (ETS, Denver), is Business-in-a-Box, an application designed to help companies launch a Web front-end with an online storefront, while transforming their back-end infrastructure. The 50-user Enterprise Relationship Management solution is priced from $64,695. “What (ETS) brings to the table is very unique in that they bring human resources, sales force automation and back-office stuff to really link back-end systems to the front end,” Hudley adds.

Laurie McCabe, service director for Summit Strategies research firm in Boston, said although hardware and software vendors have offered these kinds of bundled applications for some time, the decision by IBM to provide such solutions for DSD opens up new opportunities for users.

“For AS/400 it’s a good move because what they’re doing is really putting the front-end applications in easy reach of their customers,” McCabe says. “So that all these people who know and love their AS/400s and were maybe using it for their back-office operations don’t have to move into a Unix or some other environment. They’re still on their known and loved AS/400 turf, with the manageability, reliability they’re used to, but now they can incorporate all these new applications.”

The advantage to the customer, Hudley adds, is that the integration of all of these products gives customers a complete solution without requiring a lot a programming expertise. She says IBM hopes that will make it possible for them to take on Microsoft in the Domino market.

“That’s the beauty of the AS/400, that you can have this kind of integration,” she says. “The customer doesn’t have to do anything. They don’t have to add anything. What these (DSD solutions) allow us to do is really compete with Windows NT in the Domino environment.”

McCabe says it is probably true that AS/400 can hold its own in the Domino environment in terms of maintaining and strengthening its existing customer base, but adds that Windows’ brand dominance in the market will still be difficult to overcome.

“Is the AS/400, really, an alternative to Windows NT? Well, yeah, it is,” she says. “The AS/400 is definitely a proven business server platform, and AS/400 customers are very happy, very loyal customers. The problem is in terms of perception, it’s not even on the radar screen with non-AS/400 users”

Related Editorial:

  • AS/400 ISVs Equally Dedicated to Domino

    Related Information:

  • Binary Tree Inc. (new window)
  • Clear Technologies (new window)
  • Emerging Technologies (new window)