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April 11, 1988

NEW SYSTEMS DESIGNERS-BRITISH TELECOM FIRM SISL TAKES ON FOLIOS AND CHOTS

By CBR Staff Writer

UK systems house Systems Designers Plc – soon to become SD-Scicon Plc – has in a relatively short time built up a remarkable track record of implementing secure Unix office systems, and last year the company’s chairman Phil Swinstead said the intention was to spin off the secure systems business into a separate company. In addition, he said Systems Designers would seek a financial partner; not only can the development of secure systems be expensive, but the resources required for the lengthy process of tendering for large Government or corporate secure systems can be considerable. The financial partner turned out to be British Telecom, which has already worked with Systems Designers on several projects, and the new company has been formally launched as Secure Information Systems Ltd. The company, which is 51% owned by British Telecom, comprises 85 people including the team responsible for Systems Designers’ most widely publicised contract in the area, the Folios secure networked Xenix-based office automation system implemented for the Foreign Office. Secure Information Systems Ltd will take over the role formerly handled by Systems Designers in supporting Folios and also as subcontractor to British Telecom on the huge, yet-to-be-awarded CHOTS Ministry of Defence Unix office automation project. Initially, the company is focussing on winning and supporting individual contracts; sales director Jim Fisher – back from acting as vice-president of sales for Systems Designers’ US subsidiary – claims that reusable technology, such as secure X400, developed for earlier projects such as Folios will enable the company to offer low fixed price bids and still turn a profit. However he is also looking to the possibility of offering some of the tools as products in future.

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