Senior VP/chief technology Broadway & Seymour Inc. Charlotte, N.C.

We've created a strategy where there can be a metamorphosis, so that the mainframe is part of the solution rather than just the definition of the problem.

We do this by front-ending the mainframe with the appropriate level of client-server technology and putting in a modern and more utilitarian front end for the users to interact with.

The bank ends up with a three-layered approach: the traditional mainframe, an intermediate level of high-end file server, and then the individual workstations.

We have two projects under way right now with large financial institutions, and two more starting in the next couple of months. We're creating approaches and models that we believe can be replicated in other companies.

What we are doing is taking the first steps towards an evolution off the mainframe. What we aren't doing is going in and telling people that the first thing they should do is get rid of the mainframe. Somebody will wake up in 10 years and see that all the mainframe is doing is acting as a simple file server and say, "Maybe we don't need it anymore."


Corporate VP/group executive Electronic Data Systems Corp. Plano, Tex.

A combined phenomenon is going on, one which offers us a lot of opportunity.

There's movement off the mainframe, and there's also a lot of consolidation taking place throughout the banking industry.

One of the main things we are doing is providing expertise in the client-server area and in networking.

As banks consolidate, we have an opportunity to help them -- either in consulting or in systems management or in actually performing the consolidation.

What's often the case is that this kind of activity demands an expertise in moving certain functions off the mainframe.

We're also expanding our offerings.

We've just acquired Ampersand, a branch automation, PC-based client-server company that will be helping us with consolidations and other activities.

We also acquired BEI Golembe, a consulting firm that specializes in all sorts of restructuring and reengineering activities in the back office.


President, banking business unit Newtrend Orlando

This trend has helped our business to a great degree.

As banks have downsized, one of the areas they've downsized in is in the information services department. Therefore, they tend now to buy more generic software instead of developing it on their own. This presents an opportunity for us as an application software provider.

The other place we're providing more help is in professional services.

In the past, a bank would buy a product from us and their people would put it in, modify it. Now they are looking to us for help. We are going to use the knowledge we acquired and developed over the years to implement client-server where it makes sense and where it complements the mainframe.

But, we don't see the mainframe disappearing overnight. What our customers are looking for is client-server empowerment of some of their mainframe products.

Ultimately you are going to see some of those larger banks migrate to pure client-server for some core applications. We're helping them to continue running their mainframe software until they are ready to move to client-server. Then we will provide a migrational path.


President, chief operating officer Fiserv Inc. Milwaukee

We're doing several things to address this trend.

First, we offer a midrange IBM AS/400 product, so if a bank wants to operate in an in-house mode, it has that opportunity. We also have a variety of service bureau offerings to serve banks that want to move from the mainframe but that also want to work with a technology partner. We play the role of technology partner and run their operations for them.

We're also seeing a lot of activity in the client-server area. But today this is not a technology to run the entire bank on.

It offers a great deal of functionality and lends itself to executive information systems, a type of network in the banks where they can have information pushed down to them by the service bureau.

We'll be announcing a product along these lines soon. Also Sendero, a wholly owned subsidiary of ours, is working diligently on project to put the financial manager in the client-server environment.

But banks will not use client-server technology for large number-crunching or high transaction volume functions. They are going to do that on their own mainframe or midsize computer or look to a service organization like Fiserv.

The mainframe is by no means dead.


President Systematics Financial Services Little Rock, Ark.

We really believe that some of the new technology vis-a-vis client-server computing isn't suited for taking over host-based accounting systems.

Where we do believe it works is helping banks come up with strategic business solutions. For example, we have project at Chemical Bank where we are building an information warehouse for the treasury services area. Essentially, it is a data base using [IBM's] DB2. It will be an open systems data base that can be ported to any client-server environment.

Even though the Chemical project is host-based, we are building it in such a way that you could downsize or right-size it to a much smaller bank. There's also been a lot of innuendo in the media that client-server and downsizing in general are going to negatively impact the outsourcing business.

We have a totally different view of that.

Because we are software and applications oriented, I think the trend is going to play to Systematics' strengths. If you look at our new business over the last two years, a high percentage is oriented to application solutions, as opposed to full 100% outsourcing.

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