There was a record number of delegates and visitors at the ICL Computer Users Association annual conference in Birmingham last week to hear addresses on topics ranging from The Impact of Competitive Tendering Legislation in Local Government, to The Implementation of the Community Charge in Scotland. The three day event culminated in a speech by Bob Downey, Marketing Director of ICL (UK), in which he outlined ICL’s plans for the future. He said that ICL’s UK turnover grew by more than 16% in 1987 to over UKP850m; the reasons for that growth being, he claimed, ICL’s decision to get involved in collaborative activities with other computer companies. Last year saw ICL’s relationship with Fujitsu enabling the company to bring the Series 39 to market two years ahead of schedule. The company also collaborated on the integration of Northern Telecom Data Systems in the UK and with Sun Microsystems on specialist graphics workstations – it’s earlier relationship with Perq Systems having died with Perq. He emphasised that if the company was to grow at a faster rate than the market as a whole, it must embark on further collaborations and adhere to Open Systems standards. He said the company plans to expand in each of the major areas of application, personal, departmental and corporate systems. At the personal level ICL will be announcing further developments, focussing primarily on professional users, and at the departmental level there are plans to enhance the DRS NX range using the 80386 processor. There were no new announcements at the corporate level however 1987 saw the company hit the one thousand sale target with Series 39, and the VME population grew by 30% in the UK. The company also plans to introduce the Ingres relational database system, which is available across ICL’s departmental and office systems, on current and future mainframe ranges. In an effort to improve service, Downey said, ICL intends to expand the number of third parties with which it operates through new agency and reseller agreements. The company feels that it is not getting enough business from that particular channel – and Downey foresees ICL’s third party business, which saw 40% growth last year, to expand at three times the rate of the UK computer market as a whole.