A growing problem for corporations is how to oversee all their personal computers, scattered around offices nationwide--or around the globe. Just making sure machines are using compatible communications or word processing programs can be a big hassle. For instance, the data processing department at headquarters can mail out floppy disks and written orders to install an accounting program update, but there's no way to make sure that every remote office will actually do that when it's supposed to.
Now comes Spectrum Concepts Inc., a New York software company, with a possible solution. Its XCOM/SDS package runs on IBM mainframes and uses their communications networks to distribute software updates to remote PCs and local area network (LAN) server computers. It maintains a central library of PC software on the mainframe, digitally compresses those programs so they'll move faster across the network, installs them on each PC, and provides verification that the installation was successful. Prices start at $150,000, with deliveries beginning late this year.