May 27, 2003, 12:00 AM

OfficeMax manages network infrastructure over the web

Office Max monitors and updates retail and corporate applications on more than 10,000 terminals through a new web-based system.

OfficeMax Inc., a chain of 1,000 office supply stores, is using a new web-based infrastructure management system that lets both managers and employees update software applications--such as software that runs POS terminals or laptop-mounted sales management applications -- through the web.

The ON iCommand management system from ON Technology Corp. sits on OfficeMax`s own intranet and enables OfficeMax managers to push software updates, including security patches or new versions of software, to POS terminals, web-based kiosks, and workstations. The software patches and new software versions are first downloaded by OfficeMax`s IT department from software providers` web sites to the OfficeMax intranet, where managers can then push it out to the terminals that need updates.

Access to the intranet is made through the public Internet, enabling managers or employees to use the system wherever they have browser access to the web, says Phil Neray, vice president of marketing for ON Technology.

The iCommand system also enables OfficeMax managers to view the activity level of particular applications to determine whether they need an upgrade to handle high usage, or whether they should be uninstalled for lack of usage. In addition, the system minimizes use of bandwidth when downloading software patches, saving bandwidth for critical usage such as the transfer of POS records.

A web self-serve function also lets OfficeMax managers place software updates on the company intranet, where authorized employees can download it whenever necessary.

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