Dublin based software engineering company Millennium Solutions is set to revolutionise the process of Y2K compliance for IBM AS/400 users in Australia with the launch of its MS4 software.
According to Stephen O'Sullivan, Millennium Solution's relationship manager for the Asia Pacific, MS4 is a completely innovative and unique approach to the threat of Y2K that in practical terms translates into low costs and speedy installation. "MS4 has an approximate installation time of three weeks," claims O'Sullivan. "This is because it is non intrusive and doesn't enter the window and change any code. Instead it encapsulates a system as a whole and then backdates it," asserts O'Sullivan, explaining that "any data input or output is in real time. But when the computer does any internal calculations it just subtracts 28 years."
To oversee the development of this initiative Millennium Solutions and Australian based company Open Systems Management (OSM) have established a joint venture entitled MS400 Asia Pacific. It will rely on existing IBM AS/400 channels to present, distribute and sell the MS4. "We designed this product for Waterford Crystal in 1996 and now have 600 clients world wide," expands O'Sullivan who is expecting to "work directly with IBM resellers and business partners to give us permanent presence and support in Australia."
According to Ross McLean, Asia Pacific managing director for MS400, value added resellers (VAR's) will be certified through a training process that includes seminars and technical support such as a 24 x 7 help desk. "There are 450 000 AS/400 servers world wide," estimates O'Sullivan. "If we can provide solutions to just a fraction of these the opportunities are endless."
And the marketing strategy appears to be simple- cheap and fast. "A typical AS400 site has a Y2K budget between 500 and 800 thousand dollars and takes months to install. The AS4 costs a fraction of this with 80 per cent spent on the software product and the rest on analysis, service and Y2K testing," claims McLean.
McLean stipulates that MS4 will be targeted at "blue chip companies in the IBM AS/400 market place. "They are very cost conscious, resource scarce and focussed on business issues and maybe haven't realised the significance and impact of Y2K," suggests McLean. With the 01/01/00 deadline looming many of these organisations are at a vulnerable stage in the integration of ERP and BPCS solutions because of potential implementation difficulties and missed deadlines. McLean believes that the MS4 will offer interim solutions and "breathing space" for businesses who have yet to consider compliance or contingency plans. "MS4 will take away the pain of deadlines. It backdates 28 years so gives a company plenty of time to rethink its strategies," declares McLean. The ability of MS400 to suspend the day of reckoning makes it, according to McLean, a "remedy as well as a solution. Even if a system falls down we can go in and fix it after the fact."