Web future lure for Pick, Omnis merger

Database and operating system old-timer Pick Systems has merged with a cross-platform application developer to bring it into the graphical interface and the web-based worlds.

Database and operating system old-timer Pick Systems has merged with a cross-platform application developer to bring it into the graphical interface and the web-based worlds.

The move in California just before Christmas means Pick has listed on the Nasdaq through a back-door listing with smaller company Omnis Technology and is now called Raining Data.

Both Pick and Omnis remain wholly owned subsidiaries and Pick is still being distributed in Australia and New Zealand by TData.

TData Australia director John Buchanan says “there is a lot of synergy” between the two merged companies.

Omnis, developer of the Omnis Studio software range, has focused on cross-platform and object-oriented GUI application tools and has also developed e-business software to web-enable these.

“Raining Data will do a lot for the GUI [aspect],” Buchanan says. “The Omnis tools and D3 will soon be talking in a native way rather than in SQL.”

But Raining Data says customers comfortable with Pick will not be forced to use Omnis Studio as their front end and it will continue to support other methods.

Most, if not all, of Pick users develop their own custom-written applications to sit on top. Software developers such as The Total Computer Company in Auckland have produced utility tools for giving Pick applications a graphical interface as the need has become obvious. The Total Computer Company has signed three US distributors for its Pixieware range: Technology Outsource Group, which focuses on the billion-dollar automotive retail industry, Abbasoft and Marcom Synergies.

The remake of Pick’s strategy has been coming for years as companies moved away from character-based green screens and proprietary operating systems. The first Unix-based Pick system was launched in 1990 and the first standards-based D3 was launched five years ago.

D3 incorporates standards such as SQL and Visual Basic and Pick claims it is capable of being used by application service providers and for web page development.

Australasia is one of the largest Pick markets. TData is Pick’s third biggest distributor in the world because of the large small and medium-sized businesses here - a market the company targets. Buchanan says there are 6000 Pick sites in New Zealand and Australia, most of which have moved to D3 from legacy systems they have been running for many years.

Local Pick users with custom-written applications include MacDonalds, Kirk Motors, Auckland University and Carter Holt Harvey.

Raining Data has estimated worldwide sales of more than $US3 billion.

See Pick sees new life at glass firm.

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