Atlanta-based Management Science America Inc, currently well-known for being hand in glove with shareholder IBM to promote Systems Application Architecture, is moving into the executive information systems market with a product called SmartView. In fact this move would not have been possible without the agreement MSA struck with Comshare Inc in January (CI No 1,102). […]
Atlanta-based Management Science America Inc, currently well-known for being hand in glove with shareholder IBM to promote Systems Application Architecture, is moving into the executive information systems market with a product called SmartView. In fact this move would not have been possible without the agreement MSA struck with Comshare Inc in January (CI No 1,102). Both companies are IBM Business Partners, busily setting standards for SAA and so share similar views on the computer industry and address similar vendor markets. Ray Dicasali, vice-president of corporate information and administration, said that the collaboration with Comshare was the result of a timing decision, since MSA could have developed its own executive information system tool but it would not have got to the market so quickly. As a result of the agreement Comshare can demonstrate its Commander tool by linking it to MSA’s information base and thereby gain extra custom from SmartView. In return, MSA, aside from its reseller agreement with Comshare, is expecting to act as a consultancy service for the implementation methodology of SmartView, as well as seeing increasing demand for its other applications. The product itself is being targeted at that most difficult of markets to crack, namely senior executives and managers without computing experience. Consequently, SmartView’s human interface is a mouse and touchscreen, because executives are used to pointing at things and saying, ‘what is that?’ The system is not menu-driven but uses customisable icons, and, allegedly, requires no training at all with the navigation route through the data being self-evident. SuperView runs on IBM PS/2s with DOS 3.1 or 3.3 and requires a 10Mb hard disk. It is essentially a prototype system which can be tailored to suit specific industry sectors or customer needs. For example, SuperView for the manufacturing sector will provide a graphical presentation of information with a written presentation in a layer underneath, while for the financial sector, which is more geared to written reports, the data is structured differently so that reports appear before graphs. The system can also be tailored to suit individual executives, so that from a security angle, say, not all the details of an issue will be seen by everyone. At a more idiosyncratic level, the system can be tailored to accommodate personal preferences of the executives receiving information. Indeed each user can have his or her own QuickView option which provides a hotlist of priorities to which they can turn first. Furthermore, every piece of data is sourced to the name and number of the person or organisation that provided it so that users can verify or question the information given. At the moment SmartView is linked to MSA’s General Ledger product, but it will soon also be linked to MSA’s Human Resource and manufacturing applications. The company is currently working on SmartView prototypes for the manufacturing, banking and insurance sectors, and will develop the system for the health and government markets later. So far SmartView runs on an MVS/TSO hardware host, but according to Dicasali it could be implemented for DOS/VSE if there was a demand for it in that environment. As an entry product into the executive information system market, SmartView will cost UKP35,000.