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June 21, 1990

DUN & BRADSTREET SEEKS TO TAKE AS/400 MARKET BY STORM WITH STRING OF FINANCIAL PACKS

By CBR Staff Writer

Dun & Bradstreet Software, formed in March 1990 by the merging of McCormack & Dodge with Management Science America, has launched two new software packages for the IBM AS/400. The company appears to be unscathed by its recent legal skirmishes with Frank Dodge, founder of McCormack & Dodge (CI No 1,384), and believes it was an irrelevance that hasn’t affected user confidence. Dun & Bradstreet Software also denies that it is focusing on the mid-range market to the detriment of mainframe software business, which grew 25% last year, and is expected to continue at that rate. The first of the new packages is AMAPS/400, a manufacturing control system. It is modular in design and uses just-in-time and computer integrated manufacturing technologies. Functions include bill of materials; material control system; material requirements planning; master production scheduling; process and routing; purchasing control; shop floor control; capacity requirements planning; standard costing; and cost management. Dun & Bradstreet Software says it has brought forward its development programme to produce links between AMAPS 400 and the mainframe version, AMAPS Q. Costs depend on configuration, but AMAPS 400 will come in between UKP75,000 and UKP110,000. The second of Dun & Bradstreet’s new AS/400 packages is Spectra 400, a multi-currency and multi-lingual financial management system. It has general ledger, accounts receivable and payable, and fixed assets facilities, and it also offers report generation, financial modelling, and bank management. Dun & Bradstreet says that users may consolidate information for any number of companies and combination of models generated by the Budget and Planning system by using a custom reporting management tool. Current users of the Plus Series financial products may upgrade to Spectra 400, and the company is developing systems for sales order processing, and inventory management. As with AMAPS 400, the cost depends on configuration, and ranges between UKP50,000 and UKP100,000. Phil Edwards, managing director of D&B Software UK, believes that the number of AS/400 installations in the UK will reach 6,000 by the end of this year, and he also claims that D&B Software will be one of five or six firms dominating the financial systems software marketplace. Edwards is confident of taking 25% of that market over the next 18 months, and of generating between UKP10m and UKP15m from AS/400 application software. Dun & Bradstreet drafted in Henry Douglas, IBM’s AS/400 manager in the UK, to talk about the AS/400’s sparkling future, and how it is the ideal vehicle for Dun’s software. He refused to say how many System 36 users are converting to the AS/400, and denies that there is a reluctance in that community to adopt the machine. Douglas also maintains that IBM’s mid-range is not in a mess and that AS/400 sales won’t be undermined by the RS/6000. He believes that a need for transaction processing defines the requirement for the AS/400, as do graphics for the RS/6000. However, IBM is undoubtedly building an interactive relationship between the AS/400 and RS/6000, and seems unclear whether the Unix box is a commercial or technical workstation. This ambiguity was further underlined by the announcement of development work on a DB2-like database for AIX 3 that will be SAA-compliant (CI No 1,432). DEC’s VAX 4000 machine will undoubtedly add to IBM’s problems in the mid-range arena, and Dave Jordan, Dun & Bradstreet’s UK technical director acknowledges that it will be a competitor to the AS/400. Phil Edwards also takes an IBM-compliant line and claims that he doesn’t see a conflict in IBM’s mid-range. He says that Dun & Bradstreet is developing Unix-software, although a full range is four to five years down the road. When asked which version of Unix, Edwards said that and Dun & Bradstreet will follow IBM. – Janice McGinn

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