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Unisys takes e-@ction

The computer services firm joins the ranks of more established computer services companies launching e-business initiatives.

Computer services firm Unisys today joined the ranks of more established computer services companies launching e-business initiatives.

The Blue Bell, Pennsylvania-based company announced a new e-business plan, called e-@ction, among a number of other announcements, including strategic partnership agreements with Microsoft and Siebel Systems.

In recent months, Unisys competitors EDS and Computer Sciences (CSC) and even management consulting firms such as Andersen Consulting, KPMG, and Ernst & Young have all been touting revamped missions, shifting their focus to the Internet and e-business. Their moves are intended to counter the attention Wall Street and other industry analysts have been lavishing on smaller Internet services companies such as Viant, Scient, and Razorfish as business spending shifts to the Web.

As a major part of its e-business strategy, Unisys said it's establishing more than 50 Unisys "e-@ction" electronic business centers to develop new products, technology, and services for its clients. The company said it will also set up an education program called Unisys University to help revamp company culture and educate employees on the firm's new Internet focus.

At a news conference today, Unisys chief executive Lawrence Weinbach said he expects half the company's revenues to come from Internet-related work over the next several years.

In other news, the company said it's working with Microsoft to improve server performance on future versions of the Microsoft Windows Datacenter Server operating system through so-called dynamic partitioning. Dynamic partitioning will make computers more flexible by enabling systems to shift resources and carry loads of data without interruptions, the company said. The companies expect the initial design phase to take a minimum of six months.

In addition, Unisys said it has partnered with customer relationship management (CRM) software maker Siebel. Unisys said it will market Siebel's front office applications with Unisys business consulting, outsourcing, and implementation services.

Siebel also named Unisys its exclusive ASP, or application service provider, for Latin America, South America, Caribbean, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia. Through an ASP arrangement, the companies will work together to provide Internet-based applications that would in turn be rented to businesses over the Web.