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Western Resources Relies on IBM S/390 Data Center Servers for New Business Growth

IBM S/390 Provides Continuity for Diversifying Consumer Services Giant

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SOMERS, N.Y - 24 Apr 2000: -- Businesses that expand into new markets through acquisitions face many decisions. In an age where the data is as important as the company's products, efficient IT integration is critical. That's why Western Resources (NYSE: WR), a consumer services company with interests in monitored security services and energy, formed its Shared Services group.

This newly formed Shared Services business unit consolidates common administrative and support functions common to all businesses. In most cases, these functions -- human resources, payroll, finance, supply chain, information technology and facilities -- rely heavily on automation support. Integrating these functions for Western Resources' different companies means finding the best way to handle a wide variety of data center applications.

An early choice the IT team made was to strengthen their existing use of IBM S/390 enterprise servers as the core of its data center.

Western Resources recognized early the importance of consolidating and streamlining information systems to increase efficiency and add to the bottom line. When considering platforms for integration, the IBM S/390 was a natural choice for the company. A longtime IBM S/390 customer, Western Resources chose the platform again based not only on the strengths of the technology, but also on the savings that would result from already having staff on board with the skills to manage it.

"Integrating our systems has been a major priority for us," said Dave Corley, Director, Information Systems Operations, Western Resources. "By using IBM S/390 servers to help increase efficiency and be more competitive, we know that we have a reliable system that can support us as we grow."

The Shared Services' IT team is currently in the process of integrating the financial and human resources systems for one of Western Resources' major subsidiaries, Protection One. Western Resources owns 85 percent of Protection One, a leading monitored security company with more than 1.6 million customers in 48 states and Europe.

PeopleSoft Human Resources Management System suite V7.02 is the first application being integrated into Western Resources' information systems business model. This application is supported by IBM's DB2 Universal Database on the S/390 server. Western Resources also uses the Walker Financial system software in a DB2 environment. This application is currently being upgraded to the Walker Tamaris Financial software, V17.1.1, operating in an S/390 Parallel Sysplex clustering environment that continues to use DB2. The Tamaris application provides for a variety of common business functions, such as: general ledger, inventory management, accounts payable, purchasing, and other essential functions.

Western Resources has also deployed a 1.2TB Shark Enterprise Storage Server, the groundbreaking storage solution from IBM, resulting in reduced billing cycles and batch times.

In addition to its monitored services ownership, Western Resources also has interests in energy services. Its utility companies, KPL and KGE, provide electric service to approximately 620,000 customers in Kansas. Through its ownership in ONEOK Inc. (NYSE: OKE), a Tulsa-based natural gas company, Western Resources has a 45 percent interest in the eighth largest natural gas distribution company in the nation, serving more than 1.4 million customers.

IBM S/390 servers support the world's most successful businesses and organizations by providing industry-leading levels of scalability, availability and security for large-scale enterprise computing needs. The S/390 platform is a leader in running multiple, diverse, mission-critical workloads and applications, including e-business, financial and administrative, business intelligence and enterprise resource planning.

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IBM, S/390, Shark Enterprise Storage Server and DB2 Universal Database are trademarks or registered trademarks of the International Business Machines Corporation, in the United States and other countries.

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Contact(s) information

Kirsten Graham
IBM
(914) 766-3539
kirsteng@us.ibm.com