The UK arm of Dun & Bradstreet Corp’s Atlanta, Georgia-based Software Services division yesterday previewed version 2.0 of its SmartStream client-server accounting and decision support software which will debut this summer on a range of systems. Enhancements over last year’s initial 1.0 release include workflow activity managers that prioritise tasks for execution or delegation, the […]
The UK arm of Dun & Bradstreet Corp’s Atlanta, Georgia-based Software Services division yesterday previewed version 2.0 of its SmartStream client-server accounting and decision support software which will debut this summer on a range of systems. Enhancements over last year’s initial 1.0 release include workflow activity managers that prioritise tasks for execution or delegation, the addition of Microsoft Corp Access as the query and reporting tool, a more flexible version of the Cognos Software Inc PowerPlay data analyser it already incorporates, and new batch cycle processing and TCP/IP connect functionality in SmartStream’s InterQ communication application. Transaction processing for SmartStream will be offered in a Financial Stream application, also due this summer, with personnel, manufacturing and logistics packages following in 1994. SmartStream is intended to provide a means for mainframe users to move to client-server arrangements without abandoning their existing systems. In the SmartStream scheme, mainframes can be retained as file servers while cheaper Unix boxes assume its traditional tasks. Using the Sybase Inc SQL Server relational database and a Microsoft Windows front-end, SmartStream – plus its associated applications – provides information access, distribution, presentation and development functions for managing integrated purchasing, asset management and manufacturing systems, the company claims.
Tied exclusively to Sybase
Using InterQ, SmartStream applications can can access data from Dun’s E and M series mainframe applications and from IBM Corp DB2 and CICS systems and send it to the server system. Although SmartStream is tied exclusively to the Sybase database at present, interoperability with other systems is being considered and other database engines can be accessed via Information Builders Inc’s EDA/SQL gateway. In moving to a SmartStream client-server environment, most organisations would have to replace predominantly dumb end-user terminals with more expensive personal computer clients needed to run the Windows front end and other tools as well as buying a slew of different software packages, albeit from a single supplier. Dun says it weighed a dozen query tools before deciding on Microsoft Access, which proved more user friendly than any of the others, and doesn’t need SQL programming skills. Dun says it has done $5m of business on SmartStream since launch last summer, has some 30 customers, with five orders over $300,000: the software is aimed at organisations doing $150m a year and up. SmartStream can access IBM 370 CICS/MVS VSAM, DB2, APPC LU6.2, VAX 4000 through 8000 VMS and DECnet environments. It supports Intel Corp 80486, Hewlett-Packard Co 9000, Data General Corp AViiON, VAX 4000 through 8000 and OS/2 servers and personal computer clients running Windows. The firm sees little demand for Unix front-ends yet. Other systems – such as Digital Equipment Corp Alpha-OSF/1 and Sun Microsystems Inc Sparc – will be supported over time, when Dun’s exclusive distribution arrangements for Hewlett, Data General and VAX versions are up, though no time-scales were offered. Networks supported include IBM LAN Server, Microsoft LAN Manager, Novell Inc NetWare, DEC Pathworks and TCP/IP. D&B is also evaluating Windows NT as a host environment for its products, and has the beta NT in its labs. Even though Windows NT has not yet been released, 37% of the 1,000 or so participants in a Dun survey at UniForum believe NT will offer benefits not yet available under Unix. Kent Godfrey, director of D&B Software said no single operating system can achieve the goal of giving users access to open systems technologies.