IBM Announces Computing on Demand for Auto Dealers

IBMPlaces.ihost.com lets dealers e-source applications as needed; New messaging technology enhances auto industry collaboration

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LAS VEGAS, Nevada - 02 Feb 2001: IBM announced today an expansion of its automotive business-to-business (B2B) service offering -- IBMPlaces.ihost.com -- to enable the more than 50,000 auto dealers worldwide to lease or "e-source" business applications quickly, easily,

cost-effectively and on demand over the Internet. Initially, the service will target the 22,000 U.S. dealers.

IBM also announced a patented, standards-based IBM messaging and process integration technology for IBMPlaces.ihost.com that enables a collaborative software infrastructure. This new infrastructure -- called IBMPlaces Information Exchange -- enables dealers, automakers and other related service providers to link their business processes and applications to provide more integrated and coordinated services to consumers.

Both announcements were made at the National Automobile Dealers Association Convention and Exposition.

"In today's competitive environment, auto dealers need to spend their time focusing on capturing customers and caring for them. Using the IBMPlaces.ihost.com infrastructure, we can do more for our auto dealer customers to achieve that at lower cost than was practical with previous technologies," said Russ Steele, vice president, Alison Associates, a Bell & Howell business specializing in the collection, management and delivery of key decision support information and tools for dealership and network operations.

William Lang, IBM national practice executive for the automotive industry, adds: "The auto industry is constantly looking to become more responsive to the needs of consumers and now IBMPlaces.ihost.com can help do that. This is a utility-like model of delivering Information Technology -- in this case, applications -- by leasing on demand. We call it e-sourcing. Most important, the new infrastructure created by IBMPlaces Information Exchange enables the integration of business processes that cross organizational boundaries. That is extremely difficult to do with existing in-house technology used throughout the industry."

Using IBMPlaces.ihost.com and its IBMPlaces Information Exchange, auto dealers will have a better way to couple their existing or newly leased business applications with legacy applications used by automakers. For example, auto dealers can use IBMPlaces.ihost.com to:

-- Create and send financial statements and other monthly data to automakers regardless of format requirements;

-- Get marketing and sales leads generated by consumer inquiries over the Web, thereby enabling dealers and automakers to collaborate on a joint customized sales or lease proposal back to the consumer with details about vehicle make, model, features, pricing, financing and service options;

-- Send requests for parts and get quotes from suppliers in real-time with just-in-time delivery, which helps reduce dealer inventory costs.

The ability to access online and lease or "e-source " software applications whenever needed using only an Internet connection and a browser is a fast-growing trend that will appeal to all segments of the automotive industry. Last month, IBM announced IBMPlaces.ihost.com and the availability of several applications for use by automakers and their suppliers.

AMR Research, a leading provider of research and analysis of e-business strategies and technologies commented about IBMPlaces.ihost.com: "With the slowdown in the automotive economy, IBM may be in a good spot to draw the attention of automotive suppliers that are being hit by a capital budget crunch." AMR added: "Considering that IBM has an established hosting service with proven automotive applications, IBMPlaces warrants serious considerations...."
-- Kevin Prouty, AMR Research, The Alert on Manufacturing E-Business, January 2001.

E-sourcing is a logical extension of the long established trend within the auto industry to outsource information technology operations. Now, with IBMPlaces.ihost.com, the entire automotive value chain -- including automakers, suppliers and dealers -- can get integrated Information Technology from a variety of providers from one location on the Web. For suppliers or auto dealers with limited IT budgets, e-sourcing offers a more affordable alternative.

Previously announced applications on IBMPlaces.ihost.com for auto suppliers involve such activities as quality management, Web data interchange, and business and engineering collaboration software with real-time language translation. Applications for auto dealers expected to be added in the future are for such activities as dealer management, accounting, finance, inventory, service scheduling and other business processes.

IBMPlaces.ihost.com will be operated by IBM Global Services. It was developed using established industry standards, including Java, XML and extensions from the NADA Star XML initiative. It will provide sophisticated load balancing, security, storage, network management and application management that is expected by businesses within the auto industry.

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About IBM Automotive

IBM Automotive is one of the top 25 global automotive suppliers, providing e-business solutions to OEMs and their supply chains. IBM and its business partners deliver a full range of automotive specific solutions ranging from process consulting, solution design, IT outsourcing, e-business solutions for B2B and B2C commerce, and integration services that incorporate new technologies while enhancing usefulness of past IT investments. IBM's strategy of using industry standard technology and phasing the implementation of complete systems helps ensure customers receive the most comprehensive solutions at the lowest possible cost and risk. Learn more about IBM at www.ibm.com

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