IBM Readies New E-Business Offerings

The products are designed to match business processes in automotive, government, and life sciences.
IBM continues to evolve its strategy of developing software products aimed at vertical markets. The vendor's software unit on Wednesday will introduce E-business offerings designed to match business processes in the automotive, government, and life-sciences arenas.

IBM's goal is to better package its understanding of individual markets and build upon vertically focused integration products it's been putting out over the past couple of years by capitalizing on its established portal software. "It's part of the continuing evolution of the portal's capabilities and its role in the IBM software product family," says Tim Thatcher, program director for IBM's portal products. Thatcher adds that the products are a result of both natural product development and customer feedback.

The automotive offering is focused on collaboration between manufacturers and their dealer networks, combining WebSphere Commerce, WebSphere Portal, and IBM Lotus Software collaboration tools to provide manufacturers with a template for creating collaboration platforms they can use to more-efficiently manage warranty information, parts ordering, and issue resolution. IBM hopes its software can supplant the existing dealer communication system, which isn't able to combine parts information with the latest updated service bulletins.

Meanwhile, the government and life-sciences offerings will let government agencies and health-care providers more-effectively integrate business processes Web applications that are specific to their industries, resulting in improved compliance with regulations and better integration of content. In each case, the new IBM vertical-market products will combine portal-building features with E-commerce tools and the suite of Locus collaboration capabilities, all of which can be exposed via Web services.

Pricing for the vertical market offerings is the same as general pricing for the key IBM products: WebSphere Portal starts at $87,000, and WebSphere Commerce starts at $80,000.

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