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IBM Takes RFID Services To MidSize Companies

Lower-priced services will help smaller companies reengineer business processes
IBM is introducing a line of radio-frequency identification services for midmarket companies, many of which are in the next wave of suppliers required to comply with a growing number of retailers' RFID mandates. The services include business-case development, technological proofs of concept, internal and trading-partner pilots, and full system rollouts.

IBM began offering RFID consulting and integration services a year ago. Services aimed at the midmarket will be cheaper and more focused on helping smaller businesses, which typically have fewer resources, reengineer business processes to support RFID.

"Most ROI is based on the business process," says Eric Gabrielson, IBM's director of worldwide RFID products. "Companies have found--regardless of whether the RFID implementation is mandate driven--in some business processes, applying RFID will have a payback in less than 18 months."

IBM consultants will assess a company's operating environment, testing performance on-site and at the vendor's RFID centers in Yamato, Japan; LaGaude, France; and Gaithersburg, Md. Services will start at $15,000. A weeklong workshop to determine where to apply RFID technology costs $20,000.

IBM is the global leader in RFID-implementation projects, said equity researchers at Lehman Brothers in a report released earlier this month. The vendor has 1,000 consultants working on RFID; uses the technology to track chips through the manufacturing process at its Fishkill, N.Y., plant; and is looking at other places to apply it, such as tracking tapes used for backup and recovery.

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