IBM signs up with Home Depot

Looking to bolster its software infrastructure to extend the reach of its e-business-related applications, The Home Depot on Monday signed a five-year deal with IBM to standardise on a number of Big Blue's products including WebSphere and DB2.

Home Depot officials said they will deploy the software to better manage high-volume transactions and to integrate a number of business applications. The IBM products will serve as a foundation for Home Depot's technology system now under construction, according to the company.

Specifically, Atlanta-based Home Depot will use WebSphere as part of their efforts to better enable their customer service, to better some of the efficiencies of their supply chain, and to offer better access to critical business information. They believe WebSphere will allow them to more rapidly and efficiently handle as many as millions of customer orders, replenishment orders, and vendor invoices.

"We are pretty committed to customer service, and so I think these new solutions can provide us with a more scalable run-time environment for e-business applications," said Mike Anderson, The Home Depot's vice president of information systems.

Besides DB2, Home Depot will also use DB2 Connect to supply access from its high-volume transaction servers to the terabytes of its operational data, according to a company spokesman.

The company will also use IBM's VisualAge Enterprise Suite for creating customized applications that exploit the WebSphere platform. It will also use the toolkit as a way to more quickly integrate custom applications with existing third-party software.

Home Depot officials believe that WebSphere, being able to work across multiple computing environments, will help it better address the fastest growing part of its business, namely customized services for carpeting and kitchen remodels.

The software will permit a more automated regimen for customer's special order creation and management that will replace a less integrated process, a company spokesman said.

For more information about IBM's WebSphere series, users can go to www.ibm.com/websphere.

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