Microsoft and ICL Forge Global Alliance to Develop Retail, Government and Education Solutions Based on Windows NT

Microsoft and ICL Forge Global Alliance to Develop Retail, Government and Education Solutions Based on Windows NT

REDMOND, Wash., and LONDON, May 26, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. and ICL today announced a global alliance to develop a new breed of consumer-focused IT systems, which will help simplify the way people live, work, learn and shop. To develop and deliver these new systems, ICL, with support from Microsoft, plans to train over 4,000 staff, open seven dedicated Solution Centers worldwide, and undertake joint marketing and promotions. Under the alliance, ICL expects to create over 1,000 new jobs in Europe in the next three years.

The new systems will run on the Microsoft® enterprise platform and target large enterprise customers operating in the government and education sectors across Europe and the retail sector worldwide. By standardizing on the Microsoft enterprise platform, which is based on the Windows NT® operating system and includes Internet solutions, development tools, Office desktop applications and the BackOffice® family of applications, ICL expects to drive down the cost of enterprise computing for customers and reduce both the time and cost of implementing new consumer-focused applications.

Consumers will benefit directly from new applications aimed at making life easier. Examples are expected to include PC-based workplace shopping; retail systems that use customer preferences to target special offers; customer-loyalty reward programs; intranet and Internet solutions for schools, colleges and libraries; distance learning; advanced computer networking and messaging systems; and Internet-based PC-TV-kiosk systems providing unprecedented access to government information and services.

Under an initial three-year agreement, ICL will undertake the largest commercial IT training program in Europe, training and certifying 4,000 ICL staff to become Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers (MCSEs) and Microsoft Certified Solution Developers (MCSDs). ICL will also open seven Solution Centers to accelerate development and ensure the smooth deployment of systems running on Microsoft software platforms. The centers will be located at Bracknell, Manchester and Belfast, United Kingdom; Stockholm, Sweden; Katowice, Poland; and Redmond, Wash., and Wake Forest, N.C., United States.

The alliance is expected to create over 1,000 new jobs in Europe over the next three years, of which about half are expected to be in the United Kingdom, at or near existing ICL facilities. The jobs will be mainly for systems engineers and software developers. Those wishing to contact ICL about employment opportunities should obtain more information from ICL’s Web site, .

“This landmark alliance will redefine how consumer-centric companies and governments interact with citizens,”
said Keith Todd, chief executive of ICL.
“By basing systems on industry-known software, we expect to drive down the cost of computing and offer our customers wider options and benefits. Furthermore, we are delighted to be teaming with Microsoft, a move that exemplifies our strategy of establishing global alliances to expand our share in key markets ahead of flotation in 2000.”

“We are excited about working with ICL to deliver enterprise systems that help consumers improve their experience and the value they receive from retail, government and education organizations by taking full advantage of the products and services offered through this alliance,”
said Steve Ballmer, executive vice president of sales and support at Microsoft.
“This alliance combines ICL’s experience and expertise with manageable and scalable Microsoft technology such as Windows NT and BackOffice to give enterprise customers all over the world more powerful, end-to-end solutions for their business.”

Under the alliance, ICL will become Microsoft’s first strategic enterprise alliance partner based in Europe. The global agreement uses ICL’s strength in providing IT systems and services to large enterprises (such as retail stores, local and central government, local education authorities and multinational companies), and Microsoft’s leadership position in supplying enterprise software upon which applications run.


Go to Market


The global alliance is focused on four
“go to market”
sectors: retail, government, education and enterprise infrastructure integration across all sectors. The Microsoft enterprise solutions platform will become the preferred choice within these sectors unless technical or customer requirements dictate otherwise. In return, ICL will become a Microsoft enterprise partner.

Retail Applications

ICL, together with Fujitsu, is the third-largest supplier of retail IT systems in the world. In the retail market, ICL and Microsoft aim to simplify and enhance the shopping experience by delivering consumer-friendly business solutions to retailers. The two companies will extend their global strategic alliance by establishing the Microsoft enterprise platform as the worldwide reference platform for ICL’s Global STORE
, Precision Retailing
and Inter Retailing
family of applications for retailers.

ICL will develop a Microsoft ActiveStore
-compliant version of its Global STORE transaction processing system that is compatible with the Microsoft ActiveStore retail technology architecture; the system is currently being used by customers such as Marks & Spencer for in-store operations. ICL will deliver a Global STORE Starter Kit that will greatly reduce the custom development, consulting and systems integration required to implement a chainwide store systems network, as well as subsequent versions of Global STORE specialized for the fashion, grocery and convenience store markets. The new versions of Global STORE will provide an extended store system that easily integrates with the Internet and can record useful information on customer preferences, helping retailers serve customers more quickly, efficiently and informatively.

A packaged version of ICL’s Precision Retailing Consumer Relationship Marketing (COREMA
) application will be developed on the Microsoft enterprise platform to help attract and retain customers. This offering will help retailers build a precise understanding of individual customer preferences, enabling retailers to cater to those preferences and reward loyal behavior.

To increase interaction between retailers and customers, ICL, with help from Microsoft, will develop Inter Retailing applications that integrate consumer-friendly multimedia technology into the store, as well as extend the store into the home and workplace. By taking full advantage of the convergence of PC, television and communication technologies, these applications are intended to make user-friendly PC-based online shopping a reality.

In addition to making Microsoft enterprise software its global standard for these and other new applications, the alliance will provide ICL retail customers with an unprecedented level of Microsoft-certified ICL technical support and software development services. These offerings give retailers the ability to know precisely who their best customers are and build lasting relationships with those who are most profitable. The goal is to simplify and enhance the way consumers interact with retailers – in the store, at home, at work and on the road.

Government Applications

ICL is pioneering the delivery of
systems designed to simplify how people interact with central and local government and receive state services and benefits. Projects range from large systems integration projects supplying IT infrastructure to videoconferencing systems that allow citizens to access council, local police and education services locally without visiting central offices.

ICL will work jointly with Microsoft to help make possible fundamental changes in the way governments interact with citizens. To enhance the delivery of local and central government services, ICL and Microsoft will work together to design and develop a publicly accessible front-end computing infrastructure in Europe based on an ICL concept called CAF É
(Citizen Access Front End) and a Microsoft enterprise solutions platform. The objective is to provide citizens with a single point of access to information on all government programs, offerings and entitlements, accessible through PCs and public access kiosks. For local government, ICL will announce shortly a new citizen-focused architecture and comprehensive suite of applications that will fully exploit the new alliance with Microsoft.

Education Applications

ICL is actively developing the first building blocks for United Kingdom National Grid for Learning (NGfL) by providing managed IT services for programs in Bristol, Merseyside and Northumberland. Projects include the Merseyside Education Online Network (MEON), a fully managed computer network providing 15,000 pupils and 600 teachers with a dynamic teaching and learning environment and access to the latest information and communications technology (ICT).

ICL’s strategy is to provide best-of-breed solutions, including Microsoft software, supported by an end-to-end managed service that allows teachers to teach while IT professionals take care of the systems.

Both ICL and Microsoft share a vision of a learning environment that is available on demand, is open to all and best equips individuals for employment in the information society. With this vision, ICL and Microsoft will collaborate to help ensure that education customers are provided with the key ICT tools and services they require to make the government’s NGfL a reality. The two companies will also work together in Europe on similar opportunities involving the provision of educational software and managed services to schools, higher and further education colleges, community learning and public libraries.

Microsoft plans to support ICL in the development of a suite of educational software applications called ICON5. Included in this suite will be software to control and screen Internet access, simplify IT systems administration, allow secure home access to school systems, and extend the life of old computers. ICL and Microsoft will continue to work together to support government initiatives such as teacher training and ICT community access provision.

Enterprise Infrastructure Applications

ICL is working in partnership with major enterprises to increase the effectiveness of their IT infrastructure and deliver productivity benefits promised by new Internet-based technologies. Major infrastructure customers include the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense, for which ICL is providing Europe’s largest secure office system, and commercial customers such as Zeneca Ltd. and Macedonian Insurance.

Under the alliance, ICL will create and deploy a new integrated enterprise infrastructure, based on Microsoft Exchange, Windows NT Server and other Microsoft platforms. These will be integrated with large-scale business applications and workflow and document management systems, providing a leap forward in productivity for thousands of people in major commercial and government organizations across Europe.

Standardizing on Microsoft products and architectures will simplify the engineering task of introducing new IT systems into the workplace. This will reduce costs and increase ICL’s ability to take advantage of innovation in systems integration.

ICL customers will benefit from the ease of installation and use of the Microsoft product family, coupled with ICL’s experience in deploying high-performance, highly reliable systems as the lifeblood of businesses. This will allow ICL customers to gain additional competitiveness by building more advanced business applications to improve the levels of service they provide to their customers.

ICL’s Relationship With Microsoft

ICL’s relationship with Microsoft began in 1982 with a project on the first multitasking versions of the Windows® operating system. The companies have been working together ever since, and in January 1997, ICL launched a Windows NT Center of Excellence in Manchester. ICL is currently the third-largest Microsoft software reseller in the United Kingdom. ICL also provides help desk support to Microsoft.

ICL is already a Microsoft Certified Solution Provider (MCSP) Partner, a Microsoft Large Account Reseller (LAR), a Microsoft Authorised Support Center (ASC), a Microsoft Authorised Technical Education Center (ATEC) and a Microsoft Authorized Education Reseller (AER). The company currently employs more than 650 formally trained Microsoft sales and technical professionals.

About ICL

ICL is a leading supplier of IT systems and services. Operating in over 70 countries and employing over 19,000 people, the group’s revenues for 1997 were 2,477.1 million, generating a pretax profit of 30.0 million. The company implements IT systems for major projects and provides innovative services to a range of industries. These include global help desks, outsourcing, customer management systems, intranets, electronic commerce technologies, interactive kiosks, smart card systems, digital cities and Web sites. ICL plans to relist on the stock market in 2000.

As a multivendor systems and services company, ICL has in place agreements with a variety of software and hardware suppliers including Amdahl Corp., Computer Associates International Inc., Fujitsu Microelectronics Inc., Oracle Systems Corp. and SAP AG.

About Microsoft

Microsoft and its worldwide enterprise partners deliver a total solution: integrated platforms, powerful business applications and comprehensive global services that drive the success of its enterprise customers. Large organizations can work directly with Microsoft or choose among the many highly qualified Microsoft enterprise partners to implement solutions based on Microsoft enterprise products. More than 13,000 customers in 45 countries are

realizing significant business value and competitive advantage from Microsoft worldwide enterprise solutions.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Windows NT, BackOffice, ActiveStore and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Editor’s note: If you are interested in viewing additional information on ICL, please visit . If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

Photography is available from the ICL press office at + 44 (0) 1753 604737.

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