IBM casts net wide in push to boost e-business

In line with the formal announcement last week of its electronic business strategy, IBM is widening the reach of several of its key e-business software products.

IBM Australia's managing director and chief executive officer, Bob Savage, officially launched Big Blue's latest push, claiming Australian business leaders understand the significance of the online revolution to business and are already implementing e-business strategies.

Savage said IBM's strategy will be to help customers develop their involvement "wherever they may be on the e-business curve".

IBM's software offerings to augment its push include the Net.Commerce Start and Net.Commerce Pro suites. Both are powered by Big Blue's DB2 database and the company last week announced that they are now available on OS/390, AIX, AS/400 and Windows NT. Support for Sun Solaris is scheduled to follow by the end of the month.

According to Andrew McDougall, IBM Australia's acting general manager, software division, the Net.Commerce Start suite is targeted at mid-sized companies which are seeking a fast and low-cost entry to e-business.

In addition to the Net.Commerce server, the suite includes Store Creation Wizard, which uses three predefined storefront templates to help establish a company's e-business presence; IBM CommercePoint e-Till, which allows companies to accept SET-protected electronic payments; and Domino.Web and Domino Go Webserver compatibility for accessing collaboration functions.

The Net.Commerce Pro package is designed for large companies building "next generation" Web sites with more sophisticated features.

It encompasses all of the features of Net.Commerce Start, with the addition of advanced catalogue tools for creating shopping advisers and intelligent search methods to assist companies' customers; it includes back-end tools for smooth integration with legacy software such as IBM CICS, MQ Series, IMS and SAP R/3.

For smaller organisations, IBM is offering Lotus' Domino.Merchant 2.0 Server Pack. The suite incorporates a Domino 4.6 Web server and support for EDI with SiteCreator 2.0, a simple Web site creation and management tool; and electronic commerce applications templates for building integrated Internet and intranet applications.

IBM's CommercePoint payment family, originally launched in September last year, has also been enhanced to run on the OS/390 platform.

In addition to CommercePoint eTill, the suite comprises CommercePoint Wallet, a certificate and transaction management software; CommercePoint Gateway, a SET-based application that interfaces between the Internet and existing non-Internet credit card processing systems; and Registry for SET, which assigns digital certificates to customers for identification purposes.

A Solaris version of the CommercePoint suite will be made available later this month. The CommercePoint products start at $3940, Net.Commerce Start at $9845, and Net.Commerce Pro at $39,400.

As part of the e-business launch, Big Blue also announced IBM Global Services will deliver a range of security and advisory services.

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