Unisys launches XML-based modelling software to align IT with business vision

IT services and hardware company Unisys believes it can help IT directors solve the age-old problem of business computing: how to...

IT services and hardware company Unisys believes it can help IT directors solve the age-old problem of business computing: how to align IT with the business vision.

The supplier has developed software to model business strategy and how it drives business processes, IT applications and infrastructure.

It said early customers of the Business Blueprinting system had reduced product cycle times by up to 40%, improved productivity by as much as 100% and created savings of up to 60% on existing processing costs.

"It is not a new challenge," said Katrina Menzigian, IDC director of business solutions and business process outsourcing services research. "What [Unisys] is doing is bringing a more coherent presentation of the problem and a way of talking about it that resonates with people struggling with the challenge."

Business Blueprinting, according to Unisys, will do for building IT services what Cad/Cam software achieved with mechanical systems. The company says that by modelling stages in the creation of an IT system - vision, business process, application and infrastructure - IT departments could reuse common business tools and make better use of existing IT infrastructure.

Unisys is already taking business process components used by clients in the financial services sector and re-selling them across the industry. By sharing intellectual property with Unisys, some customers may receive preferential licensing terms or software maintenance deals.

The Business Blueprinting software relies on internet data standard XML to define its components so they can be reused in different businesses. Unisys has also teamed up with IBM and Microsoft to incorporate web services development software into its Blueprinting product.

But to benefit from the Blueprinting software, companies must know how to define their business vision, something many companies may struggle to do.

"The challenge for most organisations is pinpointing what the challenges are," said Menzigian. "It is being able to identify what process makes your company run.

"Many companies do not have a very thorough understanding around these processes. They need to identify how they can benefit from this transformation."

Unisys chief executive Larry Weinbach said IT departments need to get closer to business managers and the chief executive to enable a better implementation of the business vision. "IT directors and chief executives do not communicate and use the same words. Until you get them talking the same language it is going to be very difficult [to define the business vision in IT terms]."

Unisys will be pushing Business Blueprinting in its traditional market strongholds of banking, airlines and the public sector.

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