SCO Professional Services: SCO What?

By Joshua Weinberger  |  Posted 2003-02-13

Caldera Systems had been in the Linux enterprise business for years when it purchased two divisions of a Unix shop known as the Santa Cruz Operation (SCO), in 2001. It quickly became clear, though, which side was really earning its keep—Linux represents barely 5% of current revenue. So Caldera rebranded itself The SCO Group. Not long after, SCO banded with three other struggling Linux providers to form the UnitedLinux consortium. (As Linux leader Red Hat is awfully fond of pointing out, the combination of four money-losing software distributors doesn't necessarily add up to an immediate success.)

PDF Download

In the meantime, SCO has had to focus on its bread-and-butter Unix customers, while it looks for a way to jump-start Linux sales.

Though SCO says many of its most traditional Unix customers—small and midsized businesses—are still evaluating the potential of Linux, some, such as Cendant Hotel Group, have already launched major SCO Linux applications. More than 3,700 of Cendant's 7,000 hotels run a Linux-based property management system that interfaces with all of the hotel's other information systems. It's "the brains of the hotel," says David Chugg, Cendant's senior director of hotel solutions.

With no in-house Linux engineers, Cendant relied on SCO Professional Services to program a system upgrade in 2002. As a result, Cendant has enjoyed a close relationship with SCO technical support specialists, Chugg says. "When my technology guys have an issue, they have a direct line to a support engineer."

Another SCO customer, however, says the company hasn't been as diligent in mending some other fences.

For more than a decade, NEC Corporate Networks has used SCO Unix as the basis for call-center management systems for the hospitality industry and medical-center market, says Bill Brewer, the group's software development director.

NEC used to get personal attention from a sales rep who provided ready access to technical support. That relationship changed after Caldera acquired SCO in 2001. Heavy turnover in SCO's sales organization made it difficult to get the company's attention. "At this point, I don't even know who my contact is at SCO anymore," Brewer says.

That's no way to sustain a relationship.

Reference Checks

Executives listed here are all users of the SCO Group's products/services. Their willingness to talk has been confirmed by Baseline.

Peter Mezzenga
Technical Staff
(303) 538-1485
Project: SCO Unix forms backbone of Avaya voice-mail product. Avaya recently worked with SCO's Professional Services to make programming changes to support a new voice-mail feature.

Cendant Hotel Group
David Chugg
Senior Director, Hotel Solutions
(973) 496-2453
Project: Franchiser has used a SCO Linux-based property-management system since 1997, and used SCO Professional Services to script a system upgrade in 2002.

NEC Corporate Networks
Bill Brewer
Director, Software Development
(800) 832-6632
Project: Used SCO Unix to integrate PBX products with hospital information systems and hotel guest phone and messaging applications.

Toll Brothers
Manfred Marotta
(215) 736-9732
Project: National home-building company uses SCO Unix to drive a CAD program that provides the designs and specifications that control an automated wall-framing machine to produce prefabricated walls.

Washington Air Compressor Rental Co.
John Harmon
(301) 277-1300
Project: For the past six years, the company used SCO Unix as the foundation of its general ledger and accounting programs.

Vigilant Business Software
Jane Giggal
V.P., Strategic Development
(800) 668-2200
Project: The Toronto software-development services company developed a retail and accounting package based on SCO Linux.

Company Profile

SCO Professional Services
355 South 520 West
Lindon, UT 84042
(801) 765-4999

EMPLOYEES: 10 in professional services

Steven Thompson
Mgr., Professional Services
Oversees technical projects—planning, contract negotiations, scope of work and employee management. Heavily engaged with development of SCO Linux Smallfoot initiative.

Fran Dinis
Director, Technical Support
Also manages Team Services and Account Services. Extended traditional Unix support offerings to include Linux distributions.

Rafael Castillo-Rodas
Manager, Engineering Services and Team Support
Coordinates OEM relationships and oversees hardware certification for SCO's Linux and UNIX operating systems.

Products and Services
SCO Linux 4.0, powered by UnitedLinux; OpenLinux for servers and workstations; retail point-of-sale terminals; SCOoffice Mail Server. SCOsource is the new unit managing (and generating revenue from) SCO's Unix intellectual property.