Give Me My Money Back

Epicor and Unisys unveil Web packages, while Compaq gets flat and cheap.
Joseph RadiganFebruary 1, 2001

Don’t Let Me Down,
Or Pay Up

Market research firm Dataquest, a unit of Gartner Group, says mission-critical service vendors may want to double-check their systems’ reliability. Business users now want to be reimbursed for their financial losses resulting from unplanned, vendor-caused downtime.

If there’s a silver lining, it’s this: These organizations are willing to pay more to get an uptime guarantee, says Gartner Dataquest, which surveyed 297 companies of varying sizes and industry segments.

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Some 45 percent of business customers prefer compensation for lost revenue as a penalty when service providers fail to meet uptime or service level guarantees, according to the Gartner Dataquest survey. The survey also found that 43 percent of all respondents said they would be willing to purchase such a contract that compensated them for lost revenue.

Hardware failures account for a quarter of all unplanned downtime, software problems for about another quarter, and network miscues for slightly more than a fifth. Human error was reported as the cause for just over 15 percent of all unplanned downtime.

Financial, E-mail, desktop applications, and Web server systems are the most consistently rated as mission-critical, according to the survey. But network storage devices and system- management tools, which had not always been regarded as mission-critical in the past, are now viewed that way by many businesses.

ERP on the Web

Epicor Software unveiled a Web-based system aimed at helping mid-sized professional service organizations plan the use of their resources. Called eProject, the system covers selling, delivery, and management reporting, and it also determines a proposal’s financial impact on the business. The system also permits for entry of data such as time and expense information via a Web browser.

Finally, the eProject system lets management and staff collaborate, particularly at points where they come in contact with customers.

Web Banking for Business

Unisys and Corillian Corp. said Unisys has agreed to market Corillian’s eFinance software and Voyager Internet banking system to mid- sized and large-sized financial institutions. The systems give bank customers real-time access to check balances, conduct transactions, pay bills, and download personal- statement data into financial management software programs like Microsoft Money and Intuit’s Quicken.

Corillian’s software will be integrated within Unisys’ [email protected] Financial system.

The World is Flat

Compaq Computer said it has a flat-panel display, the TFT 7010, that sells for $1499. The product introduction suggests that PC manufacturers are ready to cut prices on even high-end business systems, a corner of the market that’s not always price sensitive. It’s not unusual for flat-panel displays to cost $2,000 or more, and for some high-end systems, they can be the single most expensive component. But with PC sales slumping and PC makers cutting prices on mass-market systems, it appears that a price war at the market’s high end is the obvious next step to pump some life back into sales growth.

Fly Me to the Web

Sprint PCS, Sabre Holdings Corp., and Travelocity have teamed up to provide wireless travel tools to Sprint PCS Internet-ready phones. The agreement links Sabre’s Virtually There Web site to the Sprint PCS Wireless Web.

Sprint PCS customers who have booked their travel through a Sabre-connected travel agent will have mobile access to their travel itineraries, including flight details, gate information, and weather forecasts. Sprint PCS customers will also be able to book hotel rooms with Travelocity.