Amdahl rolls out managed services

Five months after announcing its plan to exit the mainframe business, Amdahl Corp. is throwing itself into managed services. The subsidiary of Tokyo Fujitsu Ltd. next week will officially unveil InfraCare, a round-the-clock managed service aimed at meeting businesses' global IT infrastructure needs.

With the announcement, Amdahl is turning its focus from products to services, promising a single point of contact for IT infrastructure deployment, operational environment support, project lifecycle management, and e-business and legacy system support. With InfraCare, Amdahl is competing with companies like IBM Global Services.

Amdahl will capitalize on its 30-years of expertise, as well as the hardware, software, integration and management know-how of Fujitsu and Fujitsu subsidiaries and partners to offer businesses a global end-to-end service, says Richard Schell, director of global accounts and InfraCare program management.

"We can offer a single point of contact and a single point of accountability for the global IT service delivery of a major corporation," Schell says. "No longer does the customer need to be the point of contact or the point of integration for the day-to-day management of the IT infrastructure. That is something our customers can allow us to do so that they can focus their critical resources on moving their business forward."

Beginning next month, Amdahl will be known as Amdahl IT Services, and the change in business focus is part of an overall corporate restructuring for Amdahl, which announced last October that it was exiting the mainframe business. Amdahl is not extending its line of 31-bit S/390-compatible systems and will stop making those machines altogether in 2002, although executives say they will continue to support current users for years to come.

Fujitsu has broken up Amdahl into four business units, and Amdahl IT Services is the only one to retain the Amdahl name. The other companies are Fujitsu Technology, which will focus on hardware, primarily Unix systems based on Sun Solaris and UltraSPARC microprocessors; Fujitsu Software, which will offer applications in the area of server and storage management; and DMR Consulting, the integration and professional services piece.

Jasmine Noel, director of systems and applications management at the Hurwitz Group, says with InfraCare, Amdahl and Fujitsu are positioning themselves as the "trusted partner" for enterprises as they launch e-business projects. With IT talent at a premium, Amdahl is in a good position to help businesses design and build the infrastructures they need, Noel says.

"If Amdahl can come in and help them be successful, transitioning from just running around the fixing PCs all day to really impacting the business on a strategic level, that would be a win," she says. "That's what Amdahl is trying to get at: those people who are trying to make that transition."

That's what @Outcome was looking for when it chose Amdahl to handle its infrastructure concerns last fall. William Cowan, chairman and CEO of @Outcome, a developer of Internet-based software for the medical community, says as the company grew and planned to extend its reach overseas, it was important to find a partner that could handle its infrastructure.

"Our company's expertise is in building the end user product, the Internet technology," Cowan says. "Economically, it just made sense for us to look for an outside partner, instead of us investing a tremendous amount of capital and management time, as well as direct and indirect costs associated with duplicating a lot of these services that the bigger companies provide very well."

Cowan says @Outcome can now feel secure about the availability and scalability of its services. @Outcome looked at other companies such as IBM, but Cowan says he felt Amdahl better understood the needs of his small, growing business.

InfraCare is geared for companies big and small, says Larry Fillmer, president of Amdahl IT Services.

"We will come in to help companies find particular points of failure within an operation and then develop ways to increase availability and overall support," he says.



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