But Wait, There's More
If you are trying to keep up with PTFs on OS/400 and related systems programs, check out the OS/400 PTF Guides, put together by our partner DLB Associates.
The word on the street is that there are issues with OS/400's System Licensed Internal Code (SLIC) and that IBM has started to ship a new version of the SLIC microcode for OS/400 V5R2. We have not been able to verify whether there are bugs in the microcode that are forcing the change, but the experts we know say that the issue is less scary. They say the new SLIC supports all the new features and iSeries hardware-software packaging that was announced in January. Until now, IBM's Boulder, Colorado, facility was still shipping the older SLIC with V5R2, even on these new machines, and the updated SLIC had to be ordered separately. Why the SLIC was a special-order item in the first place is just one of those mysteries we will never solve about the way that IBM works.
While SSA Global has been busy buying companies and acquiring customer bases, the partnership and alliances side of the house has been allowed to make some progress, too. Two weeks ago the Chicago ERP giant announced an expansion of its alliance with business intelligence software vendor Cognos. With this agreement, SSA enters into an OEM agreement with Cognos for its ReportNet, Enterprise Planning Series, and Metrics Manager applications, which SSA will sell as part of its recently announced SSA Corporate Performance Management suite. These applications will be added to the stable of Cognos applications that SSA sold, which included Cognos' Enterprise BI Series 7 and Analytic Applications. SSA has built interfaces that allow Cognos applications to work with some of its ERP applications, which eases implementation costs.
After cutting almost 1,100 jobs in the last month, IBM's chief executive, Sam Palmisano, said the company may need to create 10,000 new positions for 2004. In mid-September, IBM cut 720 jobs in the Global Services unit, and two weeks ago it cut an additional 380 people in the Software Group, affecting IBMers in Austin, Texas, Boulder, Colorado, Cupertino, California, Raleigh, North Carolina, and Somers, New York; no cuts appear to have been made at IBM's Rochester, Minnesota, plant, where most iSeries development and manufacturing takes place. Earlier this year, IBM eliminated 600 jobs at its microelectronics plant in Burlington, Vermont, but so far it has cut far fewer jobs this year than in 2002, when more than 15,000 employees lost their jobs as part of a cost-cutting initiative. In a prepared statement accompanying IBM's third quarter financial results, Palmisano indicated IBM will be creating new jobs in 2004. "Next year, in fact, we see the need for approximately 10,000 new positions in key skill areas, including high-value services, middleware technologies, Linux and open standards-based hardware and software," Palmisano said in the statement.
Fresh off its J.D. Edwards acquisition, PeopleSoft recently bought its new customer base a token of its affection when it purchased JCIT International's Demand Flow application. Demand Flow is a supply chain planning application designed to reduce inventory levels, to eliminate waste from the supply chain, and to generally make manufacturers "leaner" by "enabling demand-driven thinking." The acquisition is targeted specifically at the manufacturers and distributors who run their operations on J.D. Edwards software. Demand Flow is immediately available from PeopleSoft, in limited release, and is expected to become generally available in 2004. JCIT International, meanwhile, will continue to sell Demand Flow education and services, and plans to jointly market software, training, and consulting services with PeopleSoft.
Manhattan Associates last week announced the acquisition of Streamsoft, a Chicago-based company that develops software for improving the efficiency of warehouse environments. Manhattan Associates, based in Atlanta, Georgia, plans to integrate Streamsoft's FlowTrack warehouse optimization software with its Supply Chain Execution warehouse management application, which runs on OS/400 and other platforms. FlowTrak helps warehouses run more smoothly by doing things like making sure that the most productive material handling equipment and labor (in other words, the fastest forklift and its driver) are handling the most popular items in the warehouse. This so-called slotting optimization capability can help companies improve productivity, reduce costs, and use space more efficiently, says Streamsoft's founder and CEO, Paul Maurer.
SeeBeyond has signed a deal with Seagull Software to resell Seagull's connectivity technology with the latest release of suite of application integration tools. Instead of requiring its users to build customized connectors to integrate with the character-base applications running on OS/400, mainframe, and other "legacy" platforms, SeeBeyond will offer Seagull's LegaSuite connector builder technology, which, the companies say, cuts the time it takes to create a legacy connection by 70 percent. "When it comes to proprietary legacy systems with no standard API access, Seagull Software offers proven technology for the efficient development and maintenance of non-invasive connections," according to Richard Levy, vice president of engineering and program management at SeeBeyond.
IBM last week acquired mainframe database integration technology vendor CrossAccess for an undisclosed amount. CrossAccess, based in Santa Clara, California, develops technology that allows companies to access VSAM, IMS, IDMS, Datacom, Adabas, Sequential, DB2, and Oracle databases, as well as OS/390, Unix, and Windows applications, and make that data available for new applications. Although CrossAccess doesn't appear to support DB2/400 databases, there is nothing stopping IBM from doing so, now that it owns the technology. After the acquisition closes, which is expected to occur next month, IBM plans to integrate the technology with its DB2 Information Integrator software. The plan is to merge the CrossAccess software and personnel assets with IBM's Data Management Software Division, which is led by general manager Janet Perna and is part of its Software Group.
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