AT&T Global Information Solutions, formerly NCR Corp., and Powersoft Corp. have allied to help give their customers faster and more accessible client-server applications.
The two technology firms will unite to distribute Powersoft's Windows-based software and AT&T's "middleware" product - the component that connects operating systems with software applications.
For banks - which use these systems primarily for electronic commerce - this could mean more rapid generation of applications and less need for systems developers.
Under the agreement, the AT&T unit will market the Distributed Computing Integrator, as the integrated system is called, comprising AT&T's client-server middleware platform, called Top End, and Powersoft's development software, Powerbuilder.
"Because Powerbuilder is graphically based, it's easier to work with and allows you to develop applications faster," according to Allan Dull, the alliance programs analyst.
Powerbuilder, which incorporates so-called object-oriented programming, is designed to be a user-friendly system that lets executives work without as much support from systems managers, Mr. Dull said.
Concord, Mass.-based Powersoft has been seeking to ally itself with middleware platform vendors such as the AT&T unit in order to expand marketing opportunities for Powerbuilder, which has been available for three years.
AT&T has espoused the same strategy, according to Jack Bissell, director of product management for Top End.
The company is seeking to increase the customer base for its 18-month-old middleware platform through partnerships with other providers to appeal to a wider range of customers. About 175 companies now use Top End.
Within the financial industry, the Distributed Computing Integrator - which enlists Powerbuilder - appeals mainly to mid-sized banks. Both Mr. Dull and Mr. Bissell estimated that banks and other financial institutions make up about one-third of their respective customers.
Neither vendor would disclose the names of their bank customers. Top End is an open system that can work with various hardware and operating systems, including those of Hewlett-Packard, Olivetti, International Business Machines Corp., and Unisys Corp.