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  1. Technology
February 25, 1993


By CBR Staff Writer

Having built up a successful IBM mainframe-based financial software business in the 1980s, Gateshead-based Quality Software Products Ltd is now embracing the downsized, multi-system 1990s with Universal OLAS, a completely re-engineered open systems version of its modular On Line Accounting System. As reported earlier (CI No 2,101) the company is also looking to broaden its international horizons with a push into the US and Europe, a venture that could well involve flotation. It will probably be around a month before a decision is finally reached however as the options are still being weighed. Apparently, seven unsolicited partnership proposals have been received from UK and overseas vendors the possibility of setting up third party channels has not been ruled out – or in, for that matter. Chairman Alan Mordain is adamant that the company ‘will not sign up to anyone’ though. Quality Software is rightly cautious this next big step. After all, it took five years and spent a cool UKP12m re-working its system – a process that also involved the development of special Multiple Cross Platform Engineering, or MXPE, tools with the help of Neuron Data Inc’s nifty Open Interface technology. Universal OLAS now embraces IBM MVS and VSE mainframes with DB2 or SQL/DS databases; and IBM, Hewlett-Packard Co, Sun Microsystems Inc, Digital Equipment Corp and Compagnie des Machines Bull SA Unix systems running Oracle, Sybase, Ingres and Adabas relational databases. Also, there is a choice of graphical user interfaces including Presentation Manager, Windows 3.0 and NT, OSF/Motif, OpenLook and Macintosh together with character screens, if preferred. There are enquiry tools for handling complex drill down and cross-module searches, and a core Executive Information System – Query and Exchange of Data – which handles ad-hoc on-line queries, information transfer, reporting, printing and interfacing. The accounting modules which sit on top of this operational layer are General Ledger; Accounts Payable; Purchase Order Processing; Commitment Accounting; Inventory Management; Fixed Assets; Project Tracking; Accounts Receivable; and Sales Order Processing. All can be integrated and cross-referenced to help automate procedures like stock ordering and are available in multi-language and multi-currency options.

Most advanced and flexible

Quality Software is boldly claiming the new system to be the most advanced and flexible on the market – a view endorsed by software analyst Dennis Keeling. He told the audience at the product’s UK launch that OLAS licked its competitors – namely Dun & Bradstreet Corp’s Millenium, Computer Associates International Inc’s Masterpiece, SAP AG’s R2, plus Walker Accounting Software – because it was the only system to offer true hardware-, software- and database-independence; source code compatibility; proprietary language software enginering technology; client-server architecture and a graphical Windows front end. It is the MXPE development environment that provides the framework for creating the all-important single source code, which can then be deployed to any standard ANSI, C or Cobol system. It contains a library of re-usable and pre-tested program objects which can be collated with specific application code added to solve particular problems. Also, it features a rapid development tool that Quality Software says makes it possible to write a program in a fraction of the time demanded by traditional methods. Needless to say, the company will be holding on to this strategically important technology, although it will be made available to users wishing to adapt Universal OLAS. The product is targeted at UKP25m- to UKP2,500m-a-year companies with maximum take-up expected from current mid-range VMS users followed by downsizing companies, those operating multiple systems and finally mainframe DB2 users. Cost depends on user numbers but a typical mid-range operation supporting 100 users will be some UKP100,000. There will also be upgrade deals for existing customers. The core Universal Olas and popular General Ledger module wi

ll be available in April 1993. The other modules will follow throughout the year and the full set will be available by 1994. Chairman Alan Mordain reckons the sky could be the limit on sales and is expecting that the new product will boost the company’s turnover by at least 40% every year.

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