IBM puts business smarts into AS/400

Looking to pick through your business data and figure out how to improve your products and services? IBM thinks its AS/400 server can help.

Looking to pick through your business data and figure out how to improve your products and services? IBM thinks its AS/400 server can help. Next week, the company is expected to announce a mix of software and services to help users get their AS/400s to start crunching business intelligence (BI) applications. As part of this, IBM will offer software for on-line analytical processing (OLAP) and supply-chain management. IBM claims that investments in BI applications will grow to $US148 billion by 2003, and feels the AS/400 can help them snag a portion of those revenues. This BI announcement is part of IBM's 10-week-long "rolling thunder" initiative, which the company hopes will revitalise the AS/400 line and position the box as a heavy-duty e-business server. Among the recent rolling thunder announcements was the unveiling of AS/400 Portable Application Solutions Environment, or AS/400 PASE, a software component in OS/400 that lets users run AIX applications on the AS/400. Now IBM is pointing the AS/400 at BI. Among the products being ported to the AS/400 platform is the IBM DB2 OLAP Server, an application with built-in math and statistical functions that will let users build business analysis tools. It can also be easily tied to Web-based BI applications for analysis of e-business operations. IBM is also announcing a number of products from ISV partners. For instance, Silvon Software is porting to the AS/400 its CategoryManager, which lets companies analyze sales and market performance. Pricing for the products was unavailable. The OLAP server will be available in the second quarter of this year; CategoryManager is available immediately.

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