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>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: David Cohn [mailto:david.cohn AT smarts DOT com]
>> Sent: Tuesday, May 02, 2000 1:54 PM
>> To: davidc AT smarts DOT com
>> Subject: [NV-L] SMARTS
>> Hi ,
>> If you read the article below regarding Ameritrade and their
>> of the Enterprise" from Internet Week On-Line last week, and
>> then read the
>> press announcement attached above relating the fact that
>> Ameritrade chose
>> SMARTS as their Enterprisewide Event Correlation Partner, I
>> am confident you
>> will understand why SMARTS(System Management Arts, out of
>> White Plains, NY)
>> is either installed or being considered by practically every
>> major financial
>> institution both traditional as well as On-Line.
>> I know I have sent you information before, but the case
>> being made here by
>> Ameritrade was just too compelling. Sorry for any
>> inconvenience receiving
>> this e mail. Everyone to one degree or another has the same
>> concerns as
>> Ameritrade whether you are an On-Line Broker, Insurance Company or in
>> Manufacturing. These are problems most shops face in one
>> form or another.
>> David M. Cohn
>> 914 948 6200 x 7455
>> Transformation Of The Enterprise: Firm Starts To Trade On $100M IT
>> Imagine being at the epicenter of the world's most information-driven
>> industry, competing in history's fastest-moving business revolution.
>> Throw in carte blanche management support for IT investments and you
>> get some sense of the ride Ameritrade CIO Jim Ditmore is on.
>> As Ditmore approaches his one-year anniversary at Ameritrade, the
>> brokerage is roughly six months away from completing a $100
>> million IT
>> overhaul that will give its online trading service end-to-end
>> redundancy. The company will have duplicate routing paths, carriers,
>> data centers-- the whole nine yards.
>> That huge investment makes sense when you consider that 88 percent
>> of the brokerage's trading volume comes from Web accounts (1999
>> revenue was $268 million; first-quarter revenue came in at $111
>> million). This puts Ameritrade's IT spending on a par with that of E-
>> Trade, a company with more than twice its revenue, notes Larry Tabb,
>> an analyst with the Tower Group, a consulting firm that
>> specializes in
>> financial industry technology.
>> "While they may not be the size of E-Trade, they need a similar
>> infrastructure," Tabb says. "Unfortunately, those things don't come
>> So far, Ameritrade's site has been free of the outages that have
>> blemished E-Trade, Charles Schwab and others. Ameritrade learned an
>> early lesson. Following growing pains in late 1998, including an
>> inability to deliver up-to-date account balances, it adopted
>> a go-slow
>> approach to promoting its Web trading services.
>> The brokerage spent just $60 million on advertising in
>> 1999--well above
>> 1998's $44 million, but well below original plan. With a bulletproof
>> infrastructure in place, Ameritrade will spend up to $200
>> million on ads
>> this year. Since starting more aggressive advertising again in
>> September, "we've taken the huge capacity increases in stride,"
>> Ditmore says. Ameritrade averaged 81,000 online trades a day in its
>> fiscal first quarter, up from 53,000 the previous quarter.
>> With complete service, equipment and site redundancy in the works--a
>> back-up data center Ameritrade purchased in Kansas City goes live in
>> April, complete with DS-3 links to the primary data center--Ditmore's
>> confident Ameritrade won't disappoint its customers. "From the time a
>> customer's transaction leaves the ISP, gets to our server and gets
>> processed, you can have any one component fail, and it will
>> not affect
>> that particular transaction," he says.
>> Since arriving from Bell Atlantic, Ditmore has also:
>> * Pulled Fore routing/switching equipment in favor of Cisco
>> because of
>> the latter's manageability. Ameritrade will be an all-Cisco shop,
>> including load-balancing gear, by this summer.
>> * Stepped up use of a multidimensional database from InterSystems to
>> present real-time account balances to customers starting this spring.
>> (Here, Ameritrade is catching up to competitors.) The InterSystems
>> Cache product was chosen over relational databases because of its
>> ability to conduct complex queries and present data that
>> spans multiple
>> accounts and data types. Ameritrade also rearchitected its existing
>> Cache apps to take better advantage of the database's object
>> technology and facilitate code reuse.
>> * Added support for a wireless protocol atop the brokerage's Web site
>> to support a surging number of customers--about 10,000 today--who
>> conduct trades from wireless devices.
>> Ameritrade's avoidance of costly, embarrassing outages has
>> undoubtedly been part good fortune, part robust site design. With the
>> steps Ditmore is taking, luck should cease to be a big part of that
>> equation. -- Tom Smith