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IBM Launches Initiative to Help Customers Untangle Decades-Old `Spaghetti Code'

New Services and Software to Cut out-of-Control Costs

ARMONK, N.Y. - 10 Apr 2003: IBM today launched a major initiative, including new services and software, to help customers deal with the skyrocketing costs and complexity of maintaining decades-old software applications that run 70 percent of the world's major business operations, including most major credit card transactions and stock trades.

Called "spaghetti code" by the computer industry because the software code has been altered so often, some applications date back 20 years, and in some cases, as far back as 1964, before many of today's software programmers were born. Even so, such applications handle about 30 billion basic business transactions every day, including manufacturing processes and payroll systems, for companies around the world.

"Businesses can't afford to 'rip and replace' older applications that run their daily operations, even though it costs 80 cents of every dollar of the average software budget to maintain older 'legacy systems,'" said Kerrie Holley, distinguished engineer, IBM Global Services. "IBM is helping customers integrate 'proprietary' systems that grew over the past two decades with the latest applications based upon open standards, such as Web services. In the process, we're helping companies transform their businesses."

IBM is announcing the new services, software and solution centers at IBM's developerWorks Live, taking place in New Orleans through April 11. IBM's initiative combines the efforts of several organizations.

Services "unlock" business value in older applications
IBM Global Services is announcing two new services offerings based upon its expertise in consulting and application management developed over a decade of customer engagements. The new IBM Business Consulting Services has developed a tool that can estimate an organization's potential costs savings and benefits from the two new services offerings, which are:

Application Portfolio Management Services enable IBM consultants to evaluate all of an organization's applications, which could number in the thousands for larger companies, and make recommendations on which applications to keep, abandon or change, based upon each company's individual business strategy. As part of the management system, IBM Global Services advises customers about the "pay as you go" model, which allows companies to pay for updating applications with the money saved from lower maintenance costs.

Legacy Transformation Services include several modular services that can be used individually or in combination to renovate, integrate, migrate and place applications on the Web, which enables companies to share business data within their organization, with suppliers and with customers. IBM technical professionals make the changes to an organization's legacy applications, which helps customers to realize costs savings, while positioning them to take advantage of new initiatives, such as e-business on demand software applications.

"By helping companies develop and execute a long-term plan for their software applications that includes all the advantages of Web-enabled applications and Web services, IBM is helping customers place themselves in a position to take advantage of e-business on demand computing environments, including self-managing applications, grid computing and other open standards-based technologies," continued Holley. "We take the fear out of dealing with software applications that have grown along with companies, and along with the information technology (IT) industry over the past 40 years."

New IBM Software Group offerings
IBM is announcing new WebSphere software to help developers bridge the gap between old and new applications, which is also vital for businesses that seek to move towards an on demand computing environment where they can respond, in real-time, to any internal or external change. WebSphere is the leading software for developing, running and integrating Internet-based applications.

New WebSphere development tools can:
Speed up development by simplifying the skills needed to create Web services-based applications for environments that include IBM's zSeries mainframes. Developers can rapidly create applications that integrate traditional software including CICS, invented in 1968, IBM's transaction processing software used by customers to handle billions of transactions per day. The new tools support major Web services standards and the broadest set of skills to help developers build new Web services-based workflow applications for mainframes.

Transform "green screen" applications running on IBM zSeries servers to a point-and-click interface delivered to Web browsers -- complete with graphics, hot links and drop-down menus. Mainframe developers can cut development time from weeks to hours by using use a template to 'Web-enable' thousands of green screens in a single keystroke, rather than manually convert them one-by-one.

Make it easier and faster to create and run sophisticated e-business applications for IBM's iSeries server, requiring little Java, Web, or Web-services programming skills. A new visual builder helps construct Web applications that conform to the latest open standards. Simple software "wizards" make it easy to generate e-business applications that reuse existing programs, data, and programming skills.

Mitsubishi Motors Australia chooses IBM
In Australia, Mitsubishi Motors Australia chose IBM Global Services to transform its legacy information technology operations, using an SAP implementation to support Mitsubishi's manufacturing support, component supply, finance and engineering support divisions. It's part of a multi-year integration project that is expected to extend to Mitsubishi Motors Australia's sales and marketing unit and parts division.

Solutions centers provide hands-on support
With the increased emphasis on industry-specific customer solutions, IBM has announced the first Insurance Solution Center to help insurance companies around the world develop new services for their customers and at lower costs. IBM consultants working in the center help customers to design, build and manage applications for insurance companies by combining industry experts from IBM's new Business Consulting Services group with technology providers to create applications faster and at lower costs. Located in Waterloo, Ont., 60 miles outside Toronto, the center is one a series of industry solutions centers planned to help customers in specific industries, including the Retail Solution Center that opened in Montreal last year.

Attractive financing from IBM
To help customers more affordably transform their businesses and take fuller advantage of the on demand era, financing for IBM services and software is available to qualified customers through IBM Global Financing.

Contact(s) information

Kathleen Ryan
IBM Media Relations
(914) 766-4637
karyan@us.ibm.com

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