Unisys Expands UK Processing

Unisys has announced that its subsidiary Unisys Payment Services Ltd (UPSL) plans to run the document processing operations of Girobank, the UKÆs leading money transmission bank and the commercial banking subsidiary of the Alliance & Leicester. The proposed arrangement will run for an initial eight-year period.

Subject to contract, this new agreement significantly enhances UPSLÆs position as the UKÆs largest and most successful provider of high quality, cost effective payment processing services. With centres in London and Glasgow, UPSL provides processing services to the Co- operative Bank, Yorkshire Bank and Clydesdale Bank. The addition of new processing centres and skilled staff in the North West will be the basis for UPSL to implement a regional processing strategy, which will benefit those existing clients and help win more new business.

Under the agreement, UPSL will handle all GirobankÆs document processing requirements from receipt at Girobank to settlement. UPSL already carries out some processing work for Girobank û making it well placed to develop its services for Girobank further.

By transferring its document processing operations to UPSL, Girobank will be better able to concentrate on continuing to develop its broad range of business banking services

In 1996 Girobank handled nearly ú73 billion of business cash, equivalent to ú1 in every ú4 that passed through the nationÆs tills. In recent years Girobank has extended its services to include merchant acquiring (processing credit and debit card transactions), asset finance and direct banking for smaller businesses. Girobank, in association with Post Office Counters Ltd., is also the market leader in bill payments, processing transactions on behalf of utilities and local authorities.

UPSL utilises state-of-the-art Unisys payment processing systems, which are already used by Girobank. These item image-processing systems are able to capture, store and retrieve images of cheques and other payment documents. This can mean removing paper from workflows entirely, creating the opportunity to double amount-entry throughput, move digital images automatically to where they are needed and use an expert system to balance and reconcile payments. (more) UN.713/page 3 UPSL is keen to increase its share of the UKÆs payment processing business and expects the transfer of facilities and staff at the Girobank centres in Bootle, Merseyside, and Wigan, should enable UPSL to attract substantial new business into the region from either current or future clients

The transfer is governed by the terms of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations, and staff transferring (approximately 1,000 in number) will retain equivalent terms and conditions of employment. The transfer is planned to take place on 1st October 1997, subject to contract.

Peter White, Chief Executive of the Alliance & Leicester and Chairman of Girobank, said: ôIn all parts of the Alliance and LeicesterÆs business we are constantly striving to improve our services and develop our main areas of expertise. Agreement with UPSL to handle document processing for Girobank will provide an excellent opportunity for us to maintain and improve GirobankÆs business. It will also enable Girobank to concentrate on what it does best û developing new services and ensuring that it continues to provide value for money and high quality services for its business customers. The transfer will be good for GirobankÆs business and good for the long-term job prospects of staff.ö (more) UN.713/page 4 George Cox, Chief Executive, Unisys Information Services Group, Europe, commented: ôIn a matter of a few years, UPSL has become the major force in third party payment processing by making use of the most up-to-date technology to provide cost effective, quality services. This agreement both strengthens our partnership with Alliance & Leicester and places us in an ideal position to achieve future growth based on the expertise we have developed and will continue to develop in this specialist field.

About Unisys — The Information Management Company Unisys is one of a select group of companies with the portfolio of services, technologies and third party alliances needed to deliver the benefits of information management — helping clients use their information asset to enhance their competitiveness and responsiveness to customers. Our expertise in information management is founded on the strengths of our three global businesses: consulting, solutions and systems integration; industry- leading technologies; and comprehensive services and products supporting distributed computing environments. Access the Unisys home page on the World Wide Web — — for further information.


Commerce One & BSG Partner

Commerce One, Inc., a leading supplier of real-time interbusiness electronic commerce solutions, today announced that it has signed a strategic systems integration partnership and value added reseller agreement with BSG Alliance/IT, Inc. to deliver interbusiness electronic commerce solutions to procurement and selling organizations.

Commerce One and BSG, a $100 million firm that provides IT services and products to Fortune 1000 organizations worldwide, will provide the integration, turnkey systems delivery and training skills that are necessary to deliver total solutions to the marketplace and meet customer requirements for enterprise level applications.

BSG will resell, market and distribute Commerce One products, delivering leading-edge interbusiness electronic commerce technology and world-class service and support to its customers.

Commerce One and BSG will jointly sell and market Commerce One’s C1 BuySite electronic procurement and supplier management solutions and C1 SupplySite multimedia catalog technology. The strategic partnership includes Commerce One sales and technical training for BSG’s North American and European organizations and selling to both segments of the electronic commerce marketplace, both the electronic procurement/supplier management and electronic selling/marketing.

BSG customers will now benefit from Commerce One’s leading-edge interbusiness electronic commerce technology as it enables them to meet critical business needs more effectively and receive a superior ROI.

“Commerce One’s partnership with BSG represents our commitment to addressing the enterprise application implementation needs of both buying and selling organizations,” said Chuck Donchess, vice president of marketing and business development at Commerce One. “BSG’s unique capability to deliver against these consulting and systems integration requirements enables Commerce One to deliver complete electronic commerce solutions and signals the success of Commerce One’s customer implementations.”

“Commerce One is the only electronic commerce solution in the marketplace that is capable of addressing the needs of the entire commerce chain,” said Mark Shirman, BSG vice president.

“By partnering with Commerce One, BSG can provide a real-time, interbusiness solution that brings all the disparate steps of selling and purchasing products together into one complete process. Fortune 1000-class customers can now benefit from reduced acquisition, inventory and procurement costs, resulting in a larger return on investment.”

The C1 Commerce Chain(TM) Suite

Commerce One’s technology strategy encompasses three key products: C1 BuySite, a proxy catalog server that enables simultaneous and centralized storage of catalogs from multiple suppliers; C1 SupplySite, a GUI-based, interactive multimedia catalog that enables the selection of catalog-listed products for review or inclusion in a quotation, requisition, purchase order or workflow template; and C1 REOS 5 transaction server, a real-time electronic on-line transaction system which interfaces with C1 BuySite and C1 SupplySite as well as third party electronic catalogs.

About BSG

Founded in 1987, BSG partners with companies worldwide in applying unparalleled expertise with client/server and advanced information technologies to create business value and lead change through innovative solutions.

BSG has more than 1,000 people in major business centers across the United States and in Europe, and is a subsidiary of Medaphis Corporation (NASDAQ:MEDA). For more information, please contact a local BSG sales office at 1-800-873-1274 or visit the BSG website at [http://www.bsginc.com.][1]

About Commerce One

Commerce One, Inc., develops, licenses and markets the Commerce Chain Solution, the industry’s only real-time, electronic procurement and supplier management electronic commerce solution for interbusiness transactions. The Commerce Chain Suite of products includes: C1 BuySite, a proxy catalog server; C1 SupplySite, a multimedia catalog; and C1 REOS 5 transaction server, a real-time electronic on-line transaction system.

The Commerce Chain Suite provides procurement and selling organizations with the opportunity to reduce costs, increase revenue and streamline operational processes to maximize profitability. Commerce One is a privately held company based in Walnut Creek, Calif.

Mark Hoffman, co-founder and former CEO of Sybase, serves as Commerce Ones president and CEO and is supported by an industry- leading management team of senior executives from top technology companies. Commerce One can be reached at 510/941-6000 or [http://www.commerce-one.com.][2]

[1]: http://www.bsginc.com
[2]: http://www.commerce-one.com


S2 Speeds Card Processing

S2 Systems, Inc. today announced at the HP World trade show on Chicago’s Navy Pier that its Network Express software is now generally available on the UX operating environment (“UX”), distributed by the Hewlett-Packard Company and Stratus Computer, Inc.

Network Express Release 8.0 is a modular, highly inter-operable enterprise gateway that links intranets, proprietary host systems, open networks like the Internet, dial-up or dedicated terminals and devices, business applications and databases to external networks or devices. It supports messages, files and transactions all within a common framework, which — with Release 8.0 — is now fully scaleable and can function in distributed operations.

For example, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s officers in the field use hand-held computers with wireless PC cards to access federal, state and local law enforcement databases. Many people need access to the same information, such as all law enforcement and criminal justice personnel, 911 dispatchers, court clerks and parole officers.

With S2 Systems’ Network Express for UX, which is being installed by New York integrator and value-added reseller for S2(TM) software, Paradigm4, the law enforcement agency will significantly increase its capacity. While the existing system handles a peak of approximately 10 messages per second, the new system will handle approximately 250 messages per second. Due to the open environment created by Network Express 8.0’s capability, the new system will accommodate one-half million transactions a day and 2,000 concurrent users from 600 locations.

“Individuals choosing UX now have a choice in internetworking and EC gateway software that is far more cost competitive than existing solutions,” said Ivan Koon, president of S2 Systems, Inc. “Plus, there’s no guess work. The software is proven in some of the most grueling network environments running every day around the world, such as credit card processing, reservations between airlines and their travel partners, claims or managed care administration over the Internet, corporate banking operations and more.”

Two other key benefits of this implementation of Network Express Release 8.0 include Year 2000 compliance and the integration of simple network management protocol (SNMP). SNMP is a graphical way to view an entire network’s activity. Companies with existing SNMP monitoring systems, such as the HP(TM) OpenView(TM) product, can capitalize on Network Express for new application integration with legacy systems.

Network Express 8.0 for UX is scheduled for general availability September 30, 1997.

S2 Systems, Inc., is a leading worldwide supplier of business electronic commerce software and professional services. S2 Systems focuses on electronic commerce gateway, electronic banking/payments, healthcare transaction processing and decision support systems for retail, financial services, healthcare and other evolving industries. With headquarters in Dallas and offices in Atlanta, Hong Kong, London, and Sydney, S2 Systems products are used by customers in more than 60 countries. S2 Systems is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Stratus Computer (NYSE: SRA). S2 is at 15301 Dallas Parkway, Suite 600, Dallas, TX 75248, Phone: (972) 458-3800, Fax: (972) 458-3870, [http://www.s2systems.com.][1]

Network Express and S2 are trademarks of S2 Systems, Inc. HP and OpenView are trademarks of the Hewlett-Packard Company. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies. S2 does not imply nor warrant capabilities of these companies or their products.

[1]: http://www.s2systems.com


Canda’s Internet Card System

Valu-net International Ltd. (“Valu-net”), a leading Internet Marketing Solutions provider and Previse Inc., a Microsoft Solution Provider Partner, today announced the signing of an agreement with NCR Canada to develop customized software, allowing companies and consumers to carry out credit card transactions over the Internet quickly and securely.

The solution, called Credit Payment Authorization Component (“CPAC”) integrates Microsoft Site Server with NCR Canada’s credit card authorization and processing system, enabling Canadian businesses and consumers to conduct secure, real-time Internet transactions using VISA, Mastercard and American Express. Microsoft Site Server allows organizations to easily enhance, deploy and manage complex Web sites, ensuring organizations maximize the return on their Web site investment.

“Microsoft Canada is pleased to see the serious work going forward to link Site Server, Enterprise Edition with Canadian financial institutions and customers on the Internet,” said David Wright, director of Microsoft Canada’s Organization Customer Unit. “This solution is another example of how Microsoft Certified Solution Provider Partner enhances and extends our products and services, with Previse providing a solid business solution for electronic commerce customers.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Valu-net and Previse will jointly own the CPAC technology. Valu-net will implement the technology through its Web sites and client base, made up of more than 1250 Internet customers. Previse will be responsible for leading the development team and marketing the technology. NCR Canada will provide Internet transaction processing, with Scotiabank. “Through this agreement, Valu-net will offer Canadian businesses and consumers a well-developed, secure environment from which to conduct electronic transactions as well as exceptional, real-time technology supported by a network of highly recognized corporations,” said David Lucatch, president of Valu-net.

“This new technology is an excellent example of the partnering required to bring Internet solutions to the market,” said David Gould, president of Previse Inc.

According to John Bennett, NCR Canada’s vice president, EFT Network Services, the resources of Valu-net, Previse and NCR, will result in the development and marketing of Internet solutions that are leading-edge in the Canadian marketplace.

“Businesses and consumers alike will benefit from this partnership. Currently, retailers are waiting until the end of the business day to verify credit card purchases made via the Internet which results in at least a day’s delay in ordering goods and services. Through this new partnership, retailers will have the ability to process a customer’s credit card transaction instantly, thereby improving overall service and delivery,” said Bennett.

“Scotiabank is pleased to work with Valu-net in providing leading-edge solutions to further develop the electronic commerce marketplace for both businesses and consumers,” stated Phil Griffiths, Director of Electronic Commerce at Scotiabank.

Previse Inc. provides software system development and deployment services for the most current Microsoft platforms and products for industrial and commercial customers. Previse Inc. has been selected by Microsoft as a Partner within the Microsoft Solution Provider program.

NCR is a recognized world leader in data warehousing solutions, Automated Banking Machines (ABMs), open high availability transaction processing systems, commercial UNIX mid-range systems, scanners, point-of-sale terminals and service and support for transaction-based systems for the retail, financial, communications and government markets.

Valu-net, with operations in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia, is a marketing and technology company specializing in Internet marketing solutions, integrated retail and business strategies and electronic commerce and transaction technologies. Valu-net provides complete turnkey, proprietary, cybersolutions for business. Valu-net’s strategic partners provide complete hardware, custom technology, software and fulfilment services.

As announced in the press release of April 24, 1997, Faymar (FAY), a Junior Capital Pool Corporation listed on The Alberta Stock Exchange, entered into an agreement with Valu-net International Ltd. to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of Valu-net. This transaction constitutes Faymar’s “Major Transaction” within the meaning of Circular No. 7 of The Alberta Stock Exchange and is expected to close in September, 1997.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use; each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft home page at [http://www.microsoft.com.][1] For more information on Valu-net, please visit [http://www.vncorp.com.][2] For more information on Previse, please visit [http://www.previse.com.][3] For further information on NCR, please go to [http://www.ncr.com.][4]

[1]: http://www.microsoft.com
[2]: http://www.vncorp.com
[3]: http://www.previse.com
[4]: http://www.ncr.com


BankAtlantic’s New Campus Branch

Amid the first day of the fall semester swirl of students, faculty and others on the Boca Raton campus of Florida Atlantic University (FAU), BankAtlantic today opened the doors of its innovative, full-service banking branch located on the second level of the University Center. The new branch provides students, faculty, administrators and other FAU employees the convenience of a complete line of banking services housed in a central, easy to walk to location. The branch is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

The FAU branch offers access to financial products usually associated with traditional off-campus banking facilities, and serves approximately 3,300 employees and 12,800 students on FAU’s Boca Raton campus. BankAtlantic, which since 1994 has operated one ATM on campus, will this week activate ATMs on the first floor level of the University Center and in the Administration Building. Also, BankAtlantic presently operates ATMs on FAU campuses in Davie and Palm Beach Gardens.

“We are excited about BankAtlantic’s partnership with FAU, and the highly competitive banking services program we have developed exclusively for FAU students, faculty, administrators and employees,” commented BankAtlantic Senior Vice President for Corporate Product Development Eris Sandler.

BankAtlantic’s special banking services program offers FAU students, faculty, administrators and employees the choice of free basic checking with a free first order of standard checks, or participation in the popular BankAtlantic Generations Gold checking product. This program is provided to FAU participants at a cost of $3.50 per month, or 50% off the standard monthly membership price. Generations Gold provides: Free standard checks; no monthly minimum balance required; no per check charges; free ATM access at hundreds of BankAtlantic ATMs statewide; $10,000 “All-Risk” accident insurance coverage; no fee Visa and Mastercard to qualified applicants; and special travel, health care, local merchant and long distance telephone discounts.

Along with either free Basic Checking or Generations Gold, full-time FAU students, faculty, administrators and employees receive free online account access and bill payment service via Microsoft Money ’97, Quicken, or BankNOW on America Online.

Manager of the FAU branch is Joseph Jenkins, who can be contacted at 561-361-2889.

BankAtlantic is the second largest financial institution based in Florida, and operates 60 full-service branches in Broward, Palm Beach, Dade, Sarasota, Lee, Charlotte, Osceola, Flagler and Manatee counties. BankAtlantic Bancorp, (NYSE: BBX) the parent company of BankAtlantic, is a public company whose Class A Common Stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BBX, and whose Class B Common Stock trades on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol BANC.


Gelco Announces ExpenseLink 2.1

Gelco Information Network, the leading U.S. supplier of outsourced solutions for business travel expense management and reimbursement, today announced the availablity of ExpenseLink 2.1 Travel and Expense Management System. ExpenseLink 2.1, a complete outsourced solution that relieves companies of the cost and administrative burdens of travel expense management, now allows travelers to choose to submit expense reports to Gelco via the Internet, instead of by modem, simplifying MIS support and cutting expense submission time to seconds.

Not all business travelers use laptop computers and modems. ExpenseLink 2.1 speeds and simplifies expense reporting for corporate travelers who use desktop, networked computers. ExpenseLink 2.1 enables these travelers to submit expense reports to Gelco via their corporate Internet gateways, instead of by modem or modem pool. Because the network is immediately available and offers high data transmission speeds, it takes just seconds to transmit an ExpenseLink 2.1 expense report. Tapping the power of the corporate network, ExpenseLink 2.1 makes it easy to add users from divisions and networked branch offices, and eliminates modem-specific support requirements.

ExpenseLink offers companies with 150+ travelers the most reliable and cost-effective solution for reimbursing cash and corporate card expenditures. Outsourcing expense management to Gelco can cut the total cost of processing expense reports by more than 70%. Unlike software packages, Gelco outsource solutions enable companies to consolidate multiple expense reporting systems, or quickly implement a new program, without heavy demands on MIS – a resource often absorbed by mission-critical projects.

ExpenseLink speeds and simplifies expense management by providing employees a strong incentive to complete and file their expense reports: reimbursement within three business days. The ExpenseLink solution pays any and all corporate cards on time, eliminating late charges. Automated general ledger updates, from verified Automated Clearing House transactions, are then available for ad hoc queries, and for electronic transfer to the major accounting software packages, including SAP and PeopleSoft.

Using a “best practices” methodology, ExpenseLink automatically pays standard business expense, and flags irregular or excessive requests for special attention. Inappropriate past payments can be rectified by debits to new reports. By automatically paying standard expenses and focusing managerial attention on exceptions, the system streamlines the expense process and gives finance managers a current assessment of liabilities.

Gelco Information Network, Eden prairie, Minn., is a leading worldwide supplier of cost-effective, outsourced trade payment and expense management solutions to U.S. and multinational Fortune 1000 companies and to government agencies. For more information on ExpenseLink 2.1, call Gelco at 800-444-6588 or visit Gelco’s Web site at : [www.GelcoNet.com][1]

[1]: http://www.GelcoNet.com


MBNA Downgraded Again

Standard & Poor’s says MBNA’s capital levels continue to trail MBNA’s rapid growth in managed assets and remains highly leveraged. S&P says after adjusting for securitizations, MBNA’s capital and reserves as a percentage of managed assets was 4.56% at mid-year. As a result S&P lowered its ratings Friday of MBNA Corp and MBNA America Bank but did not change ratings on MBNA’s card securities, short-term counterparty and uninsured CDs. MBNA responded to the action by pointing out that an evaluation of the real market value of MBNA’s managed assets would show its capital far exceeds stated capital. MBNA also says it just came off its “best ever quarter” with S&P’s equity department giving the card issuer its highest “buy” rating. MBNA is currently the fastest growing major issuer according to the August issue of CardTrak. CardTrak says MBNA is currently growing 28% faster than Citibank and may emerge as the nation’s #1 card issuer, ranked by receivables, by year-end.


Customer Service Fee

Secured and sub-prime card issuer First Premier Bank of Sioux Falls, SD has begun charging its cardholders a $1.00 monthly fee for unlimited access to its VRU for personal account information. First Premier formerly participated in the PinPoint service and was charging 50 cents to 80 cents for each inquiry in excess of three per month. An inquiry was defined as access to one piece of account information such as available credit, last payment or balance. First Premier has tripled its cardholder base in the past 18 months to 149,276 accounts, according to CardData. The issuer recently signed a marketing contract with Future Card, Inc. of Venice, FL.


[1]: /graphic/firstpremierbank/pre2.gif


New SAP R/3 Released

At its SAPPHIRE(R) ’97 user conference today, SAP AG announced that R/3(TM) Release 4.0 will be shipping to customers by year-end 1997 and will be generally available by the second quarter of 1998.

The next major version of SAP’s enterprise solution, R/3 Release 4.0 delivers new best-in-class functionality, improved speed and flexibility, faster implementation and upgrades, and the most comprehensive extended supply-chain capabilities available.

With R/3 Release 4.0, new Business Components and complementary software products, SAP provides complete and enhanced business solutions for several industries, including retail, public sector and utilities. The addition of SAP Retail in R/3 Release 4.0 makes SAP the first vendor to offer extended supply-chain business processes from the point of product design to the point of consumption.

Mix-and-match solutions have traditionally provided specialized functionality at the expense of enterprisewide visibility and integration; with R/3 Release 4.0, companies no longer have to accept this trade-off.

Release 4.0, based on the SAP Business Framework(TM) component architecture, marks the first time SAP will deliver major new R/3 functionality through components, providing customers with a new level of speed and flexibility for integrating best-in-class business processes for industry-specific, business or global expansion — one component at a time.

R/3 Release 4.0 delivers the following:

— The most comprehensive financial applications, including a new Treasury component

— New logistics functionality, boosting SAP’s leadership in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) market

— A new Human Resources component, providing the broadest set of global capabilities available

— Complete and enhanced business solutions for supply chain, retail, public sector, utilities, and aerospace and defense

— Business Framework tools and integration technologies, providing unprecedented openness and flexibility

“R/3 Release 4.0 is a landmark release for SAP in terms of leveraging the Business Framework to expand into new markets and industries,” said Prof. Dr. Henning Kagermann, executive board member of SAP AG.

“It is not only a major release in terms of functionality, it demonstrates SAP’s commitment to delivering complete solutions for industries by integrating SAP components and third-party components.”

Best-in-Class Functionality Without Sacrificing Integration or Flexibility

By evolving R/3 into a family of integrated components with the Business Framework, SAP has been able to provide significant new capabilities with Business and Internet Components, each on its own release cycle independent of R/3. Further, SAP has dramatically enhanced the breadth and depth of its core capabilities.

Based on close collaboration with customers, SAP has overhauled and streamlined the end-user interaction for virtually all transactions and added a new “active” help facility for increased ease of use.

(In fact, so much is new in R/3 Release 4.0 that additional details on new functionality, components, industries and technology have been provided in separate news briefs. New Internet and Business Components that are also compatible with R/3 Release 3.x are indicated by Note A.)

— SAP delivers the world’s most comprehensive financial applications, which include enhancements to core financial functionality such as corporate costing with transfer pricing, activity-based costing, profitability simulation, and decentralized controlling and budgeting. Release 4.0 has opened up R/3 with new business event-based publish and subscribe capabilities. Further, SAP is adding new country versions for Argentina and Brazil and support for the new euro currency. In addition, SAP is delivering five new financial Business Components:

— Consolidation
— Investment Controlling
— Treasury
— Self-Audit
— Joint Venture Accounting

“We worked closely with SAP on the development of Activity Based Costing in R/3 Release 4.0,” said David A. McDonald, senior director, operations control, Anheuser-Busch Inc. “This functionality will allow companies to focus not only on product costing, but also on the underlying business processes.”

— New R/3 Release 4.0 logistics functionality boosts SAP’s leadership in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) market with enhancements to the core applications, focusing on the extended supply chain including flow manufacturing, distribution resource planning, sequencing, euro price management, and credit and payment card handling. In addition, SAP is delivering several new Business and Internet Components:

— Sales Configuration Engine (SCE)(Note A)
— Product Data Management (PDM)(Note A)
— Available-to-Promise (ATP) Server
— Web-Based Catalog and Purchase Requisition System(Note A)

— New Human Resources (HR) component provides the broadest set of global capabilities available and is the first core application area of the SAP R/3 System to become a Business Component that can be either used independently or integrated, and can be upgraded on its own release cycle. A new Travel Management component is also available for HR or Financials. R/3 Release 4.0 adds support for euro and dual currency across HR and Payroll. In addition, SAP has doubled the number of countries supported with Payroll to 30, including Argentina, Brazil, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, and Venezuela.

— R/3 Release 4.0 adds advanced functionality and enhances the business solutions for several industries including retail, public sector, utilities, and aerospace and defense. The new SAP Retail solution completes SAP’s extended supply-chain offering from design and manufacturing through distribution to the point of consumption. In addition, enhancements to Financials, Logistics and HR provide significant new industry-specific functionality for the automotive, chemical, consumer goods, high-tech, engineering and construction, financial services, oil and gas, telecommunications, and pharmaceutical industries. (See related industry news briefs and fact sheets.)

— Business Framework, evolving within R/3 Release 4.0, provides new tools and integration technologies for unprecedented openness, flexibility and agility. Enhancements to Business Framework in the Release 4.0 time frame improve the ease of use and maintenance of R/3, extend its integration and openness based on industry standards (e.g., DCOM and Java), and accelerate initial implementation and continuous business process innovation for R/3 customers. (See today’s Business Framework news release and Business Engineer(TM) and related Business Framework technology news briefs.) Business Framework will allow SAP to complete the core componentization of the R/3 System by making Financials and Logistics independent Business Components with the next major release.

In addition, SAP’s new SCOPE initiative for supply-chain optimization, planning and execution — also announced today — fully leverages and complements the advanced logistics functionality of R/3 Release 4.0 to round out SAP’s end-to-end supply-chain solution.

Key to the SCOPE initiative is a new component called Advanced Planner and Optimizer (APO), which extends the R/3 System to provide high-performance real-time optimization, forecasting and graphical decision support. (See SCOPE news release.)

“SAP R/3 Release 4.0 once again raises the bar of core functionality that can be provided by enterprise resource management (ERM) vendors,” said Barry Wilderman, vice president, application development strategies, Meta Group.

“Consistent with the ERM framework, which recognizes the value of interenterprise commerce and the fact that planning — the ‘P’ in ERP — must be surrounded by core transaction processing, SAP’s new APO component illustrates the importance of combining planning and operations.”

AcceleratedSAP for Upgrades

SAP has built on its highly successful AcceleratedSAP(TM) rapid implementation initiative to create a new methodology to ensure a smooth and timely R/3 Release 4.0 upgrade process for customers currently using R/3 Release 2.2 and above.

SAP has also provided new tools to enable customers to perform much of the upgrade while their current production system is running, further reducing potential downtime during the upgrade. The new Business Engineer for Release 4.0 enables customers to upgrade and innovate their business process while ensuring consistency on a global basis.

About SAP

SAP made the announcement at SAPPHIRE ’97, the company’s annual North American user conference. This year’s SAPPHIRE, held in Orlando, will draw more than 10,000 attendees and more than 100 corporate partners to participate in a series of forums for gathering and exchanging information on the future of enterprise computing and business strategies.

SAP is a market and technology leader in client/server enterprise application software, providing comprehensive solutions for companies of all sizes and all industry sectors.

Cultivating innovative technologies on a solid foundation of business experience, SAP delivers scalable solutions that enable its customers to continually improve upon best business practices. SAP products empower people to respond quickly and decisively to dynamic market conditions, helping businesses achieve and maintain a competitive advantage.

Founded in 1972, SAP is based in Walldorf, Germany, and employs more than 11,000 people at offices in more than 40 countries who are dedicated to providing a high level of support and service for the more than 11,000 installations of R/3 worldwide. SAP’s World Wide Web site can be found at [http://www.sap.com/.][1]

[1]: http://www.sap.com/


Customer Names On Trial

First National Bank of Omaha and Trans Union are battling it out before a U.S. District Court jury in Omaha this week. FNB contends Trans Union violated confidentiality agreements by selling the names of First National’s cardholders to competitors. First National filed the lawsuit in February 1995 after it seeded its three million name cardholder database and discovered the seeded names receiving solicitations from other card issuers. The Omaha World-Herald reported this morning about 2,000 exhibits and 75 witnesses have been identified in the complex case. First National seeks $23 million in damages. At mid-year First National Omaha had $3.3 billion in receivables, $1.8 billion in year-to-date volume and 4,174,557 gross accounts according to CardData & Bankcard Update. The issuer recently acquired the card portfolio of Old Kent Bank.