IBM teams with two companies on business software

IBM Corp. is joining forces with Sweden's International Business Systems AB (IBS) on supply-chain management (SCM) software, and with Westford, Massachusetts-based MatrixOne Inc. on collaborative product commerce (CPC) software, Big Blue said in separate joint statements with the companies Wednesday. Both agreements are part of IBM's PartnerWorld for Developers program to collaborate with independent software vendors.

The collaboration between IBM and MatrixOne will focus on industries such as consumer packaged goods and medical equipment, helping clients' procurement and production teams collaborate and share data as they prepare new products for market, the companies said.

IBM and Matrix have agreed to jointly develop and market MatrixOne's eMatrix CPC platform on IBM hardware, software and middleware, including IBM eServer pSeries UNIX systems, the IBM DB2 Universal Database, and the WebSphere platform.

The IBM-IBS alliance, on the other hand, will concentrate on mid-size businesses in the distribution, wholesale and international industrial sectors, helping them link different ERP (enterprise-resource planning) systems in order to gain a seamless overview of their internal processes and those of external partners.

IBM and IBS plan to incorporate IBS' Virtual Enterprise Supply Chain software with IBM products including the eServer and IBM Global Services Supply Chain Management services.

"It's an easy way to integrate different ERP systems that you can have within a group of companies, but also at independent business partners," said Magnus Wastenson, IBS' vice president of global marketing, citing the ERP products of SAP AG, Baan Co. NV, and J.D. Edwards & Co. as examples. "And this really is a challenge, because just replacing a number of ERP systems that work today for the sake of integration is not very cost-effective."

He said his company's new product is currently being tested with a number of clients in the Nordic countries, with a Europe-wide launch planned shortly, and plans for the Asian and North American markets to follow. He would not give specific pricing information, saying the cost "depends on what sort of area you want to integrate."

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