Editorial: Looking Ahead

Perhaps, I am guilty of looking ahead through rose-colored glasses, but I am beginning to sense that a significant revival is underway at Unisys. I have this sense precisely because the company has looked into the future and is placing its bets on hardware and services that promise to open doors to new customers, and give current customers new reasons to deepen their relationship with the company. While this observation may strike some as odd, given the company’s financial performance, let’s examine some recent developments on the product and services side.

To begin with, there is the ES7000. Unisys’ recent agreements with both Compaq and Hewlett-Packard to resell the ES7000 into these companies’ customer bases are a highly-credible endorsement of the quality of Unisys engineering. No marketing campaign in the world will ever be able to burnish or highlight the company’s technology credentials in quite the same way that these agreements do. Regardless of the long-term nature of these partnerships, at this moment in time, it is clear that Unisys is uniquely capable of providing the hardware that makes Windows 2000 a viable data-center option for the demanding IS manager.

Based on recent conversations I have had with IT market pundits, it is clear that analysts have opened their eyes to the strength of the ES7000, while recognizing the importance of the platform to Microsoft, as it attempts to compete at the heart of IS departments. In short, users are buying the ES7000 and, for the first time in my memory, Unisys has generated significant positive "buzz" among IT market opinion-makers.

The early success of the ES7000 makes it even more compelling for IS managers to begin looking at how Unisys is leveraging the platform to provide organizations with compelling business and operational advantages. I recently had a conversation with Bennet Bayer, Vice President/General Manager of the Mobile Business Group with Unisys, who outlined an ambitious blueprint for delivering a variety of transaction, content delivery, lifestyle and enterprise applications to mobile users via the Internet – utilizing the ES7000 as the workhorse platform. This "Mcommerce" initiative positions either your personal mobile phone or PDA to link to a custom or "off-the-shelf" application residing on either your ES7000, or a Unisys-managed application server. The goal of this effort is to commercialize the capabilities from mobile banking to CRM to "micro payment" applications.

Working directly through its Vertical Industries Group, or through channel partners in network services or at carrier organizations, Unisys is preparing to provide cutting edge, Web-based solutions to business and government customers. Mainframe users will be heartened to learn that the company remains committed to providing these solutions to its mainframe customers, as well.

Over the course of the coming year, we will be reporting closely on developments in the Mcommerce area at Unisys in our magazine and on our Web site. It’s just one of the areas where the company is pushing into the future, but one we are keenly interested in tracking from a customer standpoint, considering Unisys’ long-term strength in the carrier market. Our conclusion is that, today, with the very tangible momentum that the ES7000 is gathering and Unisys’ commitment to providing more innovative Mbusiness and e-commerce solutions to users, it is in the IS managers’ best interest to re-focus attention on Unisys as a current or potential strategic IT partner.