The Bank of Scotland will be taking UKP11m worth of Philips Business Machines Unix-based systems for use in its Cabinet project. It was Philips’ reputation for banking systems that won it this first UK order, and amongst the first worldwide, for the P9000. Cabinet, Customer And Branch Information NETwork, will provide general information services to […]
The Bank of Scotland will be taking UKP11m worth of Philips Business Machines Unix-based systems for use in its Cabinet project. It was Philips’ reputation for banking systems that won it this first UK order, and amongst the first worldwide, for the P9000. Cabinet, Customer And Branch Information NETwork, will provide general information services to the bank’s branches for customers and accoents and ultimately will include balance sheet analysis functions for loan activities with companies. The P9000 Financial Business Systems will be connected to the bank’s IBM mainframes using SNA. The Bank of Scotland decision to take Philips’ Unix-based machines was based not only on its reputation but also because it could offer Unix and a system that could mesh with its existing computer systems. The P9000 Unix implementation has been specifically developed for banks, and includes security and data integrity features. Seven pilot branches are currently operational and from September 20 branches a month will have their systems installed. The software for the IBM mainframe side of the project was developed using the Maestro Integrated Project Support Environment or IPSE. The Bank of Scotland is planning to use Maestro to develop C code for the P9000, which will be the first time C code has been developed using Maestro in the UK although it has been done a couple of times before on the continent. Cabinet is only one of the projects in which the bank uses Maestro, and it simultaneously announced that it is adding to its existing Maestro-IPSE by spending UKP550,000 on a further 80 Maestro terminals, bringing the total to 112. Maestro is the product of a West German software house, Softlab, and is distributed on an exclusive basis by Philips in the UK. In a market where some European software houses are finding it hard to make a go of their product side, the Maestro developer, Softlab, achieves 55% of its $28m revenues from Maestro and two other products. Philips in the UK reckons that it gained around UKP7.5m in revenues from Maestro alone last year.
Maestro is a dedicated software engineering system based on the Philips P7000 minicomputer and provides information management with multi-file access; syntax guidance and menu prompting; structured design aids and programming aids; code generators for various target languages; integrated tools links to target processors; machine testing support; and project management functions. Code development work is done on the dedicated Maestro machine, P7000, and then the generated code is sent to the mainframe where it is compiled and tested. With the advent earlier this year of Philips’ first Unix-based machines the company is now discussing the feasibility of distributing the other two products from Softlab that are specifically intended for Unix and DEC environments – Maestro was originally developed for IBM mainframes. Softlab reckons that this is the reason for its success – choosing what are, in its opinion the three most widely used operating environments – and being totally opportunistic. Camic is the Unix-based software development environment that performs many of the functions covered by Maestro and Softlab estimates that as much as 80% of the code of the two software engineering systems may be the same. The reason for the second systems development, Softlab says, is because the company did not want to be hooked into one hardware supplier, in this case Philips, and chose Unix for its portability and popularity. Softlab says that in the long-term the two product may well become one. The DEC VAX/VMS product is Papics which is a project library for diverse development environments. Papics acts as an information centre for project development, arranges projects in a sensible order; copes with products with a long life-span and a number of different versions to help documentation and maintenance.