on Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT operating platform. The system, called Zeus, was unveiled Monday at the American Bankers Association national operations and automation conference in Orlando. Zeus was designed for the leading edge of information processing, based on client/server technology and using the object-oriented programming approach that simplifies the modification and maintenance of software running on many linked computers. The system also has a graphical user interface familiar to users of Windows-based word processing and spreadsheet programs - allowing "point and click" commands for entering and exiting programs and manipulating data. Thomas T. Shen, chairman of Chatsworth, Calif.-based Software Dynamics, said the company developed Zeus to meet a growing demand for branch systems that embrace these technologies. "The banking industry needs a Windows-based delivery system that can be quickly changed and modified," he said. The system "provides greater flexibility, particularly in large-scale distributed environments where multitasking capabilities are crucial." Zeus provides more functionality than the company's current DOS-based system, the Teller/Platform Plus, used by more than 400 financial institutions around the world. Zeus also has enabled SDI to enter the market for systems based on GUI - graphical user interfaces - where many competitors are already making headway. The major software providers are developing or piloting new branch delivery systems, with some vendors opting for more than one operating environment. Argo Data Resource Corp. currently uses IBM's OS/2 operating system but has pledged to move to Windows NT if the system becomes popular. Broadway & Seymour Inc. uses OS/2 and Unix and is also developing its system to work with Windows. Both Culverin Corp. and Olivetti North America Inc. have developed applications specifically for Windows. Like its competitors, Software Dynamics does not want to be trapped by the popular operating system of the day, said E. Roger Hotte, a principal, director, and senior vice president of the company. Though Zeus has been built initially for Windows NT, SDI also plans to support Windows 95, when it becomes available, and OS/2 on computer servers by the first quarter of 1996. Mr. Hotte said the company chose Windows NT because it would be easier to convert from Windows to OS/2 than vice versa. He added that they were also influenced by Microsoft's marketing strength. "We believe Windows NT will be a success," he said, adding that there has been a high level of interest from customers. There has also been interest from third-party providers. Information Technology Inc. of Lincoln, Neb., which private-labels SDI's Plus system, is planning to offer Zeus as well, according to Michael Young, vice president of ITI, which was recently acquired by Fiserv Inc. SDI will continue to offer the Plus system and has made the two systems compatible, enabling banks to run Zeus at the platform and Plus at teller stations.
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