IBM aligns with QAD

IBM's middleware line got a boost on Monday through a deal that will see QAD Applications standardize its suite of order management applications on Big Blue's products.

Under the terms of the deal QAD, which specializes in selling to mid-market companies, will standardize its eQ applications, designed to help manufacturers in several different markets be more responsive to their users' needs as well as help them reduce inventory and lead time.

With the new deal in place, users now can purchase an entire order management system with IBM's DB2, WebSphere Application Server, and WebSphere MQ that will be seamlessly stitched into the IBM products.

The eQ applications working in concert with IBM's infrastructure products allow users to manage all aspects of commerce across a variety of platforms, including buy-side and sell-side functions, and makes supplier and customer interactions more convenient.

By synchronizing the manufacturing, supply chain, and delivery processes, manufacturers stand to improve the information flow for each of their trading partner's internal processes as well as the flow across the entire supply chain.

The deal also adds a little more muscle to IBM's recently announced On Demand Computing Environment initiative, which was detailed late last month by company chairman Sam Palmisano.

"With QAD we can respond to global manufacturers' need for On Demand technology solutions that are both fast to implement and leverage existing investments in their existing diverse computing systems. We think our software being used together offers an alternative to proprietary solutions that often require costly and time-consuming custom integration," said Hoon-Meng Ong, vice president of global small and medium business marketing for IBM, based in Armonk, N.Y.

To date, QAD's eQ line has been sold to manufacturers in the automotive, food and beverage, electronic components, and medical device markets. The lineup includes five different tools including a sales order management and fulfillment application, the Customer Self-Service Edition for Web-based self service, a demand-based materials management application, a procurement management system for centralized purchasing, and a commerce management framework for defining business relationships.

One company that intends to purchase the integrated set of products is Awrey Bakeries, because the combination offers them the right blend of features and capabilities, officials said.

"The combination of order management and middleware gives us the ability to offer our customers self service and Web order entry that better helps us in synchronizing business functions," a company spokesman said.

The pre-packaged QAD eQ and IBM middleware products, which are available on Windows and Unix environments, are all shipping immediately, said officials from both companies.

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