IBM S/390 General Manager

Letter from my desk...

April, 1997

Electronic Commerce on S/390

A few weeks ago, management guru Peter Drucker was asked whether he really thought the information revolution would change the world as profoundly as the industrial revolution did. He replied that he thought it would change the world more profoundly-- as profoundly as the printing press did 500 years ago. Including the world of business.

At IBM, we think Peter Drucker is right. We're also betting that the next era of the information revolution will be network computing, on a global scale. IBM is not fighting the browser wars. We're concentrating on the end-to-end infrastructure that will make truly global network computing possible-- and with it, global electronic business.

S/390 is a vital part of this strategy, and this year, we are making a whole series of product announcements to implement that strategy.

In January, we announced S/390 support for Lotus Domino, the world's premier groupware software. At Internet World in February, we announced a new Internet Connection Secure Server (ICSS), which makes S/390 a bullet-proof launching pad for electronic business; cryptography implemented in hardware, which is faster than software; Net.Commerce, which simplifies setting up electronic storefronts on the Web; and new workload management software, which capitalizes on S/390's ability to handle multiple workloads dynamically, according to customers' predetermined rules.

S/390 support for Java, which allows applications to be written once and run on any platform, is in beta test now.

With these products, and other new products we'll be announcing over the coming months, S/390 customers will be able to integrate billions of dollars worth of applications and data-- including interaction with DB2 and existing applications-- with their activities on intranets and the Internet.

All of this is part of our focus on a new computing paradigm: one based on Content, Collaboration and Commerce. Content, to provide secure access to information; Collaboration, to handle interactive relationships; and Commerce, to allow people to buy goods and services securely over the Web.

Some people are surprised when we talk about S/390 as an Internet server-- an enabler of industrial-strength electronic business applications. But in fact, S/390 customers are already using S/390 this way, including utilities, banks and a large healthcare provider.

The reason is that more and more of today's users are realizing that in the most demanding new applications-- including virtually everything involving the Internet and intranets-- the real action happens not on the client side, but on the server side. And S/390 provides the continuous computing environment that makes these demanding applications possible.

Today, customers are seeing that new networked applications, which may involve thousands of connected users, require the continuous availability, horsepower, rock-solid security and scalability that S/390 has been providing to the commercial world for more than 30 years.

Increasingly, they're also realizing that it's the groupware layer -- Lotus Domino-- that will launch many of these new networked applications.

At the IBM S/390 Division, we began piloting Domino on S/390 last November. By June, we'll have more than 3,000 people involved. Also by June, we'll have shipped code to several dozen beta customers around the world. And in September, we'll make the product generally available.

Right now, not even Peter Drucker can predict where the information revolution will take us. But it's IBM's plan to be at the crest of the wave. I hope you'll join us. It promises to be quite a ride!

Linda Sanford

Copyright 1997