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  1. Technology
April 5, 1989


By CBR Staff Writer

Big day for IBM Systems Integration arm

Before we get onto the products in detail, it is noteworthy that the Electronic Data Interchange initiative is just about the first major offering from IBM’s Systems Integration Division, the hot new unit born out of the old Federal Systems Division. And with all the missionary zeal of a new unit, it offers a full range of fee support offerings to assist sponsors and trading partners in implementing EDI, from consulting services to determine business and systems requirements through creation of a plan for the design, development and implementation of an integrated Electronic Data Interchange system. And since manufacturing companies all over the US, Europe and Japan are hoping to pull some of their chestnuts out of the fire by diversifying into systems integration it’s as well to know the yardstick against which their performance will no doubt be measured. IBM Systems Integration Division offers, inter alia, EDI consulting, including an EDI Sponsor-Trading Partner strategy and plan; The expEDIte Integrated Series, a set of turn-key solutions for the Sponsor-Trading Partner strategy; development and implementation of a custom expEDIte Integrated Series for volume implementation of Trading Partners; a Joint Application Development Study to create a documented EDI application plan; EDI systems design and application integration; Installation assistance for a translator and/or connecting to the IBM Information Network; Mapping and translation assistance; local or on-site EDI workshops and classes; and Trading Partner seminar management. And there are third parties – IBM Business Partners – lined up who are capable of helping users with EDI implementation.

DataInterchange/MVS Release 1 and 2

Starting where most money is invested, DataInterchange/MVS provides translation and business document management facilities for Electronic Data Interchange in Systems Application Architecture operating system environments, and includes a utility for converting application data formats into or from US national ANSI/X12 and international UN/EDIFACT EDI standards. It provides the capability to read application data from a file or write to a file that can be uploaded or downloaded to other systems. It is designed to the specifications of these industry standards as understood and interpreted by IBM as of December 1988: ANSI/X12 AUGUST 1988, UN/EDIFACT JULY 1988, ODETTE MAY 1988, TDCC February 1988, and UCS February 1988. As well as the communication module needed to interface with the IBM Information Network included in the base product, interface modules to General Electric Information Services, McDonnell Douglas Tymnet, Control Data/Redinet, Sterling/Ordernet Version 2 and Version 3, Kleinschmidt; Western Union/EasyLink, and TranSettlement/TranSend are available as separately priced items. It is priced on IBM’s awkward new software pricing structure that eliminates the one time charge and instead means that you have to pay an annual fee. It costs $14,750 on a medium-to-large 9370 for the primary licence and $2,050 a year thereafter, or $761 a month on an ordinary monthly licence, rising to $38,000 for the primary licence on a big 3090 plus $5,200 a year thereafter, or $1,224 a month on monthly licence. Release 1 is available in the US this week; release 2 is scheduled to follow in the fourth quarter.

DataInterchange/2 for PS/2 needs OS/2

DataInterchange/2 is the version for the PS/2, but not much detail is provided. It can be tailored for different application data formats, standards, trading partners, and network parameters via online customisation, and can be integrated with existing or new applications or can be operated as a stand-alone application. It provides the capability to read application data from a file or write to a file that can be uploaded or downloaded to other systems. It provides National Language Support, including Double Byte Character Sets and will be translated into German, Japanese, Swedish, Swiss-German and Spanish. It is a fairly demanding program, requiring a minimum

of an 80286-based PS/2, XT or AT with at least 5Mb memory and 20Mb disk – and it is one of IBM’s first programs that you can’t have without OS/2 – it runs only under OS/2 Extended Edition 1.1 up. It costs a one-time $4,000, plus $3,000 for each copy you want to make, and is planned to be available in February 1990.

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DataInterchange System/36, /38

DataInterchange System/36 is designed to operate with the minimum configuration of an IBM System/36 5363 or 5364/PC system unit with 128Kb of main storage; 30Mb of disk; system printer (either line or serial) with 132 print positions; communications adaptor; EIA RS-232C interface; 4,800bps synchronous modem; and bisync support. It costs $6,600 up-front and $900 a year thereafter, from September. IBM DataInterchange/38 for the System/38 offers the same capabilities on the System/38 and costs $11,250 for the primary licence plus $1,550 a year thereafter; it is due to be available in September.

DataInterchange for the AS/400

The AS/400 version gives an idea of the size of the programs, requiring a minimum of 4Mb main store and 630Mb disk – and a tape drive. Although by definition pretty similar to the System/38 version, DataInterchange for the AS/400 very quickly gets substantially more expensive: it is $6,600 and $900 a year on a B10, but by the B40 is ahead of the 38 at $11,550 and $1,575 a year, and on the B70 is $18,150 and $2,475 a year. It arrives September. Discounts are offered that rise to 25% on 40 programs taken over one year. The optional communications modules for users wanting to get onto systems such as EasyLink cost $880 and $120 a year each.

Statements of direction on VM, COPICS, MAPICS/DB, AS/400 DMAS

For those by now feeling decidedly left out, there are a string of Statements of Direction: for VM, IBM intends to provide IBM DataInterchange for VM to complement the family of IBM DataInterchange products announced today. For PS/2, IBM intends to provide IBM expEDIte/2 to complement the family of IBM expEDIte Communicator Series of products that interface to the IBM Information Network. For COPICS, MAPICS/DB and AS/400 DMAS, In addition to the expanded role in Electronic Data Interchange announced today, IBM intends to enable IBM COPICS, AS/400 MAPICS/DB and AS/400 DMAS for EDI through the use of IBM DataInterchange. It also promises to include the transaction sets of TDCC and UCS with the DataInterchange/MVS and DataInterchange/2 products to provide the same standards coverage across the expEDIte DataInterchange product family.

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