Magazine article American Banker

Olivetti Making the Move to 'Open Systems.' (Olivetti North America Inc.)

Magazine article American Banker

Olivetti Making the Move to 'Open Systems.' (Olivetti North America Inc.)

Article excerpt

Olivetti North America, a leading supplier of branch automation systems, has embarked on an aggressive upgrade of its product line.

The Spokane, Wash.-based company, which went by the name ISC/Bunker Ramo until it was changed earlier this year to reflect ownership by its Italian parent, has begun redirecting software development efforts toward an "open systems" design.

The benefit of open systems software is that it is easily portable to a wide range of computer hardware platforms. Olivetti is hopeful that expanding the compatibility of its products will help it compete in an increasingly competitive branch automation market.

Healthy Competition

According to industry experts, the branch automation market in the U.S. is highly fragmented, with no single company dominating.

The level playing field has created healthy competition for bank business among vendors, many of which have revamped their product lines in an effort to improve their position in the market.

Earlier this year, Unisys. Corp., Blue Bell, Pa. unveiled plans for a new line of branch automation products based on object-oriented technology.

The scramble for market share also led Electronic Data Systems Corp. in Plano, Tex., last month to acquire Amper-sand Corp., which makes per-sonal-computer-based branch automation software.

Loss of Credibility

In the past, Olivetti North America has always held its own among stiff competition, and the ISC/Bunker Ramo name has been well regarded by most bankers.

In recent years, however, experts said the company has not been as aggressive as its competitors in upgrading its technology. As a result, it has lost some of the credibility it had in the late 1980s.

"They've certainly fallen off the radar screens of many banks," said Gregory Schmergel, a vice president with the Tower Group, based in Dover, Mass. …

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