IBM aims product management package at midmarket

Building out its Express line of products for midsize companies, IBM rolled out a hardware and software package Wednesday designed to help manufacturers manage information about their products.

IBM's Product Lifecycle Management offering is for companies with 100 to 1,000 employees and is available now through IBM and its resellers. Along with IBM's own WebSphere application server software, workstations and servers, the package includes two applications from Dassault Systèmes of Paris: CATIA version 5, for collaborative product design, and Smarteam, for product data management.

The package is suited to companies that manufacture industrial components, tools, machinery, mobile equipment, plastics and consumer goods, IBM said. Three software packages are offered and range in price from US$12,000 to $18,000 per license. With some IBM hardware and services included the price comes to $30,000 to $50,000, an IBM spokesman said.

Customers were first offered IBM's Express line of products late last year. They are mostly server-side offerings and are tailored for midmarket customers, who generally have smaller IT staffs and tighter budgets than enterprises. The Product Lifecycle Management offering includes support, training and financing options that are suitable for smaller businesses, the Armonk, New York, vendor said.

Hoping to offset the decline in spending from their enterprise customers, IBM is among dozens of vendors who have rolled out versions of their products tailored towards smaller companies. Others releasing versions of their products aimed at the midmarket include SAP, PeopleSoft, Oracle, Vignette and Sun Microsystems.

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