IBM WebSphere 5.1 is set for iSeries AS/400 platform

IBM Corp. next Monday will announce that its WebSphere Commerce Suite Version 5.1 is now available for the iSeries AS/400 platform.

Version 5.1 adds globalization support beyond simple language and currency. The upgrade offers functions such as region-specific sales tax and shipping rules, and localized payment methods and pricing. In addition, 5.1 provides customers with a single catalog option, rather than requiring the customer to create a new catalog for each new country entered. Yet the single catalog still allows companies to personalize based on region, said Sandy Carter, IBM vice president of e-commerce marketing, in Somers, N.Y.

"Adding iSeries to the list of platforms supported helps IBM leverage its strong globalization support and a truly global installed base, as well as its commitment to a standards-based open platform architecture," said Carol Baroudi, director of electronic business strategies at Hurwitz Group Inc. in Framingham, Mass.

The upgrade also adds merchandising personalization features, allowing line of business managers to more effectively market their products. For example, the commerce accelerator lets managers target certain customers for special offers or customize offers for particular audiences.

WebSphere Commerce Suite 5.1 also offers business intelligence in the form of analytic tools. Business managers can run reports to learn the effectiveness of a particular marketing campaign or special offer.

Version 5.1 also lets customers more easily integrate with J.D. Edwards & Co.'s ERP (enterprise resource planning) packages and QAD Inc.'s EQ product, Carter said.

IBM has also added mobile commerce support to Version 5.1, including notification messages, automatic content selection, and customized shopping flow tailored to specific mobile devices.

Pricing for WebSphere Commerce Suite Version 5.1 on iSeries is based on processor groups. Software-only prices range from $22,000 for the most basic installation to US$200,000 for a machine with 11 processors. Software and hardware prices range from $66,000 to $500,000.

IBM plans to release WebSphere Commerce Suite Version 5.1 for the Z-Series in the third quarter of this year.

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