SofStore, an integrated mainframe-to-micro software distribution system program that should be snapped up by IBM at once, has been introduced in the US by DTSS Inc, a little $3.2m-a-year subsidiary of Metropolitian Life Insurance Company. SofStore is designed to deliver both brand-name and proprietary Personal software programs and updates to end-users, while providing corporate executives, micro managers and professionals with a controlled software acquisition, distribution and reporting mechanism – absolutely voting the IBM ticket on the vital need for centralised control in companies that are major computer users. In conjunction with the SofStore introduction, DTSS has announced a new corporate strategy which – it says excruciatingly – leverages its 15-year history in end-user computing and its experience as a leading developer of system software for time-shared mainframe systems. It reckons that as an independent supplier with extensive end-user as well as systems experience, it is a logical provider of a solution that bridges the complex and growing gap between Personals and mainframes. The $75,000 SofStore incorporates host and Personal software, combined with the company’s proprietary DataPass micro-to-mainframe link, which supports both asynchronous and synchronous communications. The initial release of SofStore runs under VM/CMS on IBM or compatible hosts, using the SQL/DS database. According to the company, SofStore’s major benefits to end users include a centralised, faster response to purchasing requirements; more timely notification of software updates; easier access to templates and other programs developed internally; and lower departmental costs with a greater variety of software options from which to choose. It is also designed to address the growing challenge of administering software licences, delivering updates to end users, and tracking and reporting on PC-DOS software throughout the corporation. A report writing feature enables managers to track software distribution and Personal usage for internal accounting and reporting to corporate management, as well as to publishers offering their software under volume purchase agreements. Updates are also automatically announced and delivered to end users. It also notes that one beta test site for the current release is a major corporation using the system to supply software updates to more than 5,000 Personal users, having previously had a disastrous time delivering updates to individuals within the organisation, particularly as updates to some of the larger applications software programs could account for as many as 10 floppies per user. The company was founded in 1972 as Dartmouth Timesharing Systems and claims to have developed the industry’s first commercial time-sharing system.
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