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Unisys Outlines Blueprinting Strategy

NEW YORK -- Unisys Corporation on Tuesday launched a major new initiative designed to help clients quickly adapt their businesses to change and enable cost savings between 25 and 60 percent from improved business processes, reduced cycle times and elimination of redundancy.

Called "Unisys Business Blueprinting," the measure represents the Blue Bell, Pa.-based company's attempt to remain competitive with the likes of IBM and HP, which has recently been fortifying its own IT services/consulting practice with a strategy called "Adaptive Enterprise."

The goal is to help customers in the commercial enterprise space or in the government sector become more agile in adapting to quickly changing economic and business conditions.

Speaking here at a well attended event in the historic Rainbow Room, Unisys's Chairman, President and CEO Larry Weinbach posed the following questions: "Would you build a house without a blueprint? Would you remodel a house without a blueprint?"

"If you don't have the blueprint, how do you tell someone what you want to build?" Weinbach asked a crowd of more than 300 analysts, media reps, partners and customers.

But to put Unisys's launch into the proper perspective, the new strategy comes on the tail end of the worst recession in the history of the high tech sector. Weinbach, himself, acknowledged that in 2002 about 70 percent of all technology companies reported operating losses.

"We still have reluctant buyers because they want to make sure they get the right impact for their money," Weinbach explained.

And that heavy emphasis has taken its toll on Unisys's customer base. According to its own research, 26 percent of its customers completed less than half of all IT projects they had planned. And only 20 percent delivered less than half of their planned IT projects within budget.

To help those customers deal with changing business demands, new strategic directions or simply reducing cost redundancies, Unisys developed all of the business process blueprints that it launched today through a four-tiered modeling approach:

  1. Business vision and operations model
  2. Business process models and patterns
  3. Functional and applications models
  4. and lastly, the infrastructure model
"The key is leveraging a common architectural platform to make maximum reuse of critical business processes and supporting software capabilities," Age Miedema, ING's chief operations officer for European insurance operations, said in a statement ahead of a news event to discuss the strategy.

To accomplish this, Unisys's Blueprinting strategy relies heavily on web services and vendors like Microsoft , which Unisys traditionally has had strong ties with, as well as IBM, which Unisys has traditionally seen as a fierce competitor.

Microsoft will contribute .NET development tools, its BizTalk Server and Windows Server system into the new consulting practice. And since Unisys has no middleware line of its own, it will rely on IBM's Websphere line as well as its newly acquired Rational development tools.

Armed with over a dozen blueprints (or digital models) to help organizations in financial services, transportation, telecommunications, media, retail and the public sector, Unisys is trying to match up various business processes with the software and systems that support those processes. Unisys Business Blueprinting, therefore, not only helps reduce redundant functionality but also gives clients greater clarity in understanding how any strategic shift or new business structure will affect their IT infrastructure.

Unisys is launching Unisys Business Blueprinting strategy with 14 pre-canned solutions:

  1. Life insurance and pension plan administration
  2. Property and casualty insurance
  3. Banking and mortgage
  4. Enterprise payments
  5. Airline reservations
  6. Health claim management
  7. Health and human services
  8. Justice and public safety
  9. Tax and revenue management
  10. Registry and ID
  11. Cargo security
  12. Multimedia messaging
  13. Newspaper and Web publishing
  14. Integrated trade replenishment

"Blueprinting is the next-generation business and systems modeling architecture that integrates business vision and IT execution to drive organizational agility," said Joe McGrath, president of Unisys's Enterprise Transformation Services.