Corp. and Lotus Development Corp. that lets the bank distribute complex information over public telephone networks. Chase's test of the service, called AT&T Network Notes, ran for about six months earlier this year and involved about 30 Chase employees. "We thought the test went very well, and we're looking at ways to use the capability," said Craig D. Goldman, executive in charge of distributed and advanced technologies at Chase. As part of the service, AT&T manages a group of servers that host Lotus Notes data bases. Subscribers to the service put data in Lotus Notes form on the servers, and tell AT&T which customers or suppliers should have access to their Notes data bases. AT&T then arranges access for the other parties, installs the software, monitors network activity, and provides support for the software at both ends of the network. Users can connect to the Notes server at AT&T using any machine running Lotus Notes, but the user must know what information he or she is looking for. AT&T has offered the service since August 1995, and it is being used by companies such as Compaq Computers, to communicate with its retail outlets. Companies are also using the service to communicate with suppliers or with their own work forces in remote locations, said Greg Lazar, director of sales for AT&T Network Notes. Despite the similarities to the World Wide Web - another means of disseminating electronic information to the public - Chase and AT&T officials said that Network Notes is aimed at different kinds of customers and different kinds of communications. Network Notes has a higher level of security than the Web, they said. The security is an extension of the controls built into Lotus Notes itself as a work-group product. "If you want to broadcast information to everyone, you'll use the Web," said Mr. Lazar. "Notes is being used more interactively between two partners who want to share information across a network, but not necessarily with everyone else." "Web sites are a great place for credit applications, loan applications, interest rates. You want people to come in and browse," said Michael Mandelbaum vice president in charge of client delivery systems at Chase. "The Notes environment is more stable, more controlled than the Web, and it's a good place for people who know what they are looking for.'' Chase tested the service with an application that the banking company could as easily have done in-house, but it chose to do it through Network Notes to see how the service worked. In the test, Chase put out on the AT&T network a set of data bases concerning audit policies, procedures, and methodologies. The 30 or so members of the internal audit staff were able to access the data using the same telephone number - with a prefix of 950 - no matter where they were around the country. AT&T this week announced that customers now can use a single telephone number to access AT&T Network Notes from 32 countries. The Chase test was deemed successful, although Mr. Mandelbaum said that the pricing was too high for the bank to use the service for that application. He said the main advantage of Network Notes is that AT&T handles all the security for the different parties. There are several other potential applications, Mr. Mandelbaum said. For instance, Chase already exchanges data with about 100 technology suppliers using Lotus Notes data bases. Using the new service, Chase could rid itself of network administration duties, which are time consuming, because they entail transferring security data back and forth with suppliers. "It can be hard to coordinate that data exchange with a large number of companies," Mr. Mandelbaum said. Other data that Chase might distribute across Network Notes include product profiles, procedural manuals, and reference listings to mobile workers, to customers, or to suppliers. Because Chase is a big user of Notes, much of its information already is in a Notes data base, Mr. Mandelbaum said. Under current pricing, a company such as Chase would pay a monthly fee to AT&T of $2,500 for service management. Chase's customers or suppliers would each pay $39 per month for two hours of connection time, and an additional $10 per month for each hour over two hours.
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