Staples Gets Supercomputing Supplies from IBM

SAP sells software to Great West, Microsoft has a new prez, and more. StaffFebruary 15, 2001

Yeah, We Got That

IBM says office supplies discounter Staples Inc. has purchased one of Big Blue’s SP supercomputer for its enterprise data warehouse. The computer will integrate Staples’ merchandising information and help it identify emerging retail trends.

The $9 billion retailer says it is enlarging its data warehouse to merge information from several databases and make it available from a central location. The system will contain all the information generated by the company’s online and offline businesses.

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The heart of the system is a 64-processor IBM SP supercomputer, which is similar to the “Deep Blue” machine that defeated chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. The SP is a parallel computing system comprised of up to 512 separate computers, or “nodes,” and, no coincidence, it’s designed for large data warehouses like the one at Staples. The Staples’ installation will rely upon IBM’s DB2 database and store data on four terabytes of disk drives.

Guess that’s a lot easier than using notepads and Post-it notes.

SAP Signs Great West

SAP America said Great West Life & Annuity Insurance selected mySAP Insurance to integrate its financial management, decision support, E- commerce, and human resources.

Great West is a managed care and pension plan provider based in Englewood, Colo., and the company will use mySAP to interpret financial data, process transactions and communicate with investors, customers, and suppliers. The software will also be used to reconcile customer accounts, manage receivables and payables, and handle premiums.

Bits and Bytes

  • Clarus Corp.’s fourth quarter loss widened to $28.7 million on sales of $3.4 million compared to a loss of $7.3 million on sales of $5.4 million in the fourth quarter of 1999. For the year as a whole, the company lost $70.6 million on revenue of $34 million. In 1999, Clarus lost $18.7 million on sales of $11.5 million.
  • Microsoft Corp. named Rick Belluzzo, the head of the company’s consumer division, as president and chief operating officer. Belluzzo will take over the reins as chief operating officer from Bob Herbold, 58, who is retiring after more than six years in the post. Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer, who until now has also served as president, is handing that title to Belluzzo.

Several different interpretations were put on Belluzzo’s promotion. Belluzzo and Ballmer have been friends for years, and said Belluzzo is now the heir apparent to Ballmer, the software giant’s number two executive to chairman Bill Gates. The New York Times said Belluzzo will spearhead the company’s revamped Internet strategy, while Reuters credited him with reviving the MSN consumer Internet business, which had been struggling until he took it over.

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