Systems Union is reworking its financial and business applications in the hope that the updated product family will help push the UK-based company into the US, French and German markets.
The rewriting of the Sunsystems suite is codenamed Project Captiva, but the first fruits are not expected before the second quarter of 1998.
Simon Edwards, Systems Union?s European chief executive, said: ?Provided we have the business plans in place, this product strategy will enable us to penetrate major markets, although we?ll stick to the midrange and small business sector. It will enable us to aggressively attack the US, German and French markets because the new functionality will widen our scope.?
Project Captiva will result in a rewritten 32-bit client, based on Microsoft?s ActiveX controls. Support for Microsoft OLE will also be included as a means of embedding such functionality as workflow and electronic data interchange. Systems Union is currently evaluating which third party workflow engine to license on an exclusive basis.
But the new client will only run on Windows 95 and NT, not on other client platforms. Edwards claimed this was the most difficult decision the company had had to make, but by the time the product was out, the hardware configuration would be more affordable and most of the installed base would have moved anyway, he said.
The server portion of the system, on the other hand, will be progressively rewritten in Object Cobol, starting with maintenance software for data and tables, a Forms entry tool so users can define their own input documents, new enquiry facilities to drill through data, and general payment software.
It will also no longer be a monolithic block of code, but be split into separate processes to enable application partioning.
The first new module to come out of Project Captiva will be a human resources package early next year, which will deal with such issues as time recording, billing and line of business cost control. The module will be broadened out to handle training, personnel manuals and appraisal records over time.
Systems Union also intends to extend its order management software to cover supply chain management by the end of 1998.
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