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November 2, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

With its sights firmly set on continental Europe, IBM mid-range agent and software manufacturer JBA International Plc has set up a subsidiary company to specialise in the development of international AS/400 application software. The 30-strong Studley-based Olympic Software Ltd already offers a range of manufacturing and distribution applications under the gen-eric name of Business/400, and plans to offer the same package in the major European languages by the second quarter of next year. The company aims to target large multi-national companies, which use varying configurations of AS/400 hardware in their subsidiaries, and claims that, as the only UK provider of complete a suite of products, it is in a position to offer clos-er application integration than most. Olympic will also cultivate a softer, personal approach to curry favour with small, two-to-30-employee type companies: traditional parent territory is large, nat-ional organisations. Consequently, first Olympic priority will be the expansion of its continental distributor nedwork: managing director Kevin Jones hopes to increase the number of agents to 40 by the end of next year, with particular emphasis on France, Germany and the Benelux countries. In addition, the company will conduct end-user sales via JBA Ltd in the UK, and existing JBA agents scattered across some 20 countries worldwide. As a rough guide, Olympic’s pricing policy is designed to bring Model-B40 prices in line with existing System/38-based product charges, with prices scaled in a linear fashion for B30, B10, B20 users. Donning his JBA hat, Jones was also able to shed some light on the pattern of AS/400 sales. Currently standing at 116, slightly reticent System 36 users account for a mere 10%, with the remaining 90% divided equally between System 38 users and new, non-IBM business. The AS/400 has opened the market from 100-screen to 200-screen, reckons JBA chief Colin Wells, making it very attractive to ICL and Honeywell users. Wells was also able to confirm that, once things – acquisitions and the huge influx of AS/400 business – settle down, plans for going public are definitely on the JBA agenda.

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