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IBM Announces High Performance E-commerce Software To Help Businesses Handle Growing Web Site Traffic

New Versions of IBM Net.Commerce and Catalog Architect Enable E-businesses To Support Expected Online Sales Surge During 1999 Holiday Season

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SOLUTIONS & #3999;, LAS VEGAS, JULY 20 - 20 Jul 1999: -- IBM today announced new versions of Net.Commerce* and Catalog Architect*, software to help companies supportthe increasing demands of electronic commerce, particularly during the holiday shopping season when online purchasing peaks.

Net.Commerce V3.2 and Catalog Architect V3.2 prepare sellers for high Web traffic volume with new functionality to optimize their e-commerce investments, including:

-- Further enhancements in performance andscalability to provide companies with reliable and manageable e-commerce solutions for business-to-business and business-to-consumer applications.

-- An open e-commerce platformfor independent software vendor (ISV) and business partner integration, expanding the range of e-commerce offerings available to customers.

-- Relationship marketing and merchandising capabilities to help customers drive site traffic and sales, and increase customer loyalty.

-- Tools for content creation and management, including Catalog Architect V3.2, to help customers reduce costs and improve site and catalog management by simplifying the way businesses design, build and manage electronic catalogs.

"Net.Commerce is among the leading electronic commerce server offerings with more than 2,000 customers. Its strengths, particularly its integration with external applications, make it attractive for large companies who want to deploy an electronic commerce server as the Web channel for existing systems. Its price and ability to scale down also make it attractive for small and medium-sized companies wishing to implement electronic commerce quickly," said Mitch Kramer, analyst, Patricia Seybold Group.

According to Ziff-Davis' InternetTrak survey, 24 million people over the age of 18 are expected to buy gifts via the Internet this holiday season -- more than triple the number who made online purchases last year.

"Victoria's Secret+ has taken advantage of a number of performance and availability features in Net.Commerce and anticipates even further benefits with the enhancements IBM has made with V3.2," said Frank Giannantonio, vice president, direct marketing systems, Limited Technology Services, a division of The Limited Corporation. "IBM is working with us to ensure we are well prepared for the upcoming peak holiday season."

IBM also announced relationships with several business partners that are providing additional functionality to enhance the relationship marketing and content management capabilities of the offerings (see addendum).

"The new versions of Net.Commerce and Catalog Architect will help both new and existing e-businesses maximize the value of their Internet commerce initiatives," said Karl Salnoske, general manager, e-commerce, IBM Software Solutions.. "With the number of online transactions expected to climb exponentially this year, the new software provides greater reliability and scalability to ensure that our customer's e-commerce sites are operational round-the-clock, especially when online sales volumes surges during the upcoming holiday shopping season."

Performance, Reliability, Scalability and Manageability
Net.Commerce V3.2 delivers high scalability and availability through functional enhancements to the mass import utility, database access, caching, and performance monitoring, as well as flexibility to use the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) payment protocol more selectively. Tivoli** systems management support has also been added to improve reliability and manageability.

An Open, E-commerce Platform
Net.Commerce V3.2 provides a more open platform for ISV and business partner integration, expanding the product capabilities in relationship marketing, content management, business integration, customer service and commerce platforms (see addendum).

Continuing the migration of Net.Commerce to the Java environment, the Net.Commerce Product Advisor feature, a catalog tool that helps sellers create intelligent catalog searches to guide customer product selection, has been redesigned to take advantage of IBM WebSphere Application Server technology. It uses Java Server Pages and Javabeans to provide more control of page rendering and web page design tools. Enhancements have also been added to simplify the installation process and improve ease of use.

The new release also incorporates the latest version of IBM Payment Server software, which allows merchants to specify if Cardholder Certificates are required for purchases made by shoppers using an electronic wallet application, such as IBM Consumer Wallet. It provides additional merchant level data protocols for enhanced Secure Electronic Transfer (SET) conformance.

Relationship Marketing
In the area of relationship marketing, IBM's business partner relationships will enable Net.Commerce users to build customer relationships through reward programs, cross-selling, up-selling, targeted product information, gift registry and direct marketing through e-mail. For example, a merchandising manager will be able to easily access information about online shopping activities, thereby gaining a better understanding of how marketing strategies are impacting sales.

"As e-commerce grows in popularity, there is an increasing demand for customer recognition and service that equals or even exceeds the traditional retail experience," said Dr. Larry Harris, Founder and CEO of Linguistic Technology. "With our EasyAsk eCom Solution and the additional functionality of Net.Commerce V3.2, we can continue to provide the tools businesses need to drive customer loyalty and sales on the Internet through enhanced relationship marketing."

IBM also introduced several business-to-business and business-to-consumer reference (sample) applications that demonstrate additional Net.Commerce capabilities, such as relationship marketing and order processing. Some of the reference applications available are:

-- Add Items: allows buyers to go through a fast path to order confirmation during the product selection process.

-- Reorder: allows buyers to maintain a frequent order list of items, and not have to re-enter the order every time.

-- Accessorize: alerts shoppers to additional items for purchase, supporting cross or up-sell of items/products in catalog.

-- Shopper Points: accumulates shopper points (rewards program) for purchases with that merchant.

-- Banner Ads:displays ads on either a rotational basis, or personalized, based on shopper identification.

The applications are accessible at no charge via the Net.Commerce Cyber Community, a new Web community that allows IBM Net.Commerce business partners and customers to participate in forums, hosted discussions and obtain valuable industry information through published reports. The Web community can be found at http://www.software.ibm.com/commerce/net.commerce/community

Content Management
In the area of content management, Catalog Architect has been enhanced to make content management and creation easier for businesses. Catalog Architect V3.2 includes support for XML, which will enable ISVsto combine their products with Catalog Architect to create unique customer solutions. The new release also includes a variety of performance and ease-of-use enhancements, such as smart guides for importing data, to improve user productivity.

In addition, new business partner relationships will help Net.Commerce customers leverage existing information assets and deploy their commerce-enabled Web sites faster and with greater efficiency (see addendum).

"A major challenge facing companies as they become on-line merchants is the ability to quickly and easily adapt their e-commerce Web site to reflect ever-changing catalog content and growing customer demand," said Martin Brauns, president and CEO, Interwoven. "Interwoven Teamsite, together with IBM Net.Commerce V3.2, addresses this challenge by providing the technology that allows companies to successfully build, deploy and easily manage large e-commerce sites."

Product Availability, Price
Net.Commerce V3.2 is available on the AIX*, AS/400*, Microsoft Windows NT** and SUN Solaris** platforms. IBM Net.Commerce START V3.2 has a list price of $4,999. Net.Commerce PRO V3.2 has a list price of $19,999.

Catalog Architect V3.2 runs on Microsoft Windows NT, and is designed to populate DB2* Universal Database and Oracle Database** on the AIX, AS/400, Windows NT and Solaris platforms. Catalog Architect is designed to work with Net.Commerce V3.2 START or PRO. The IBM list price is $3,000, and a single license is included with Net.Commerce PRO V3.2 at no charge.

Both products are available in English in August, and worldwide in September, through IBM and its business partners. Business partner prices for products may vary.

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