IBM's MQSeries Workflow Automates Business Processes To Help Companies Compete in E-business

Frees IT Shops to Focus on Real Business Needs

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SOMERS, N.Y - 28 Jul 1998: -- IBM today announced the worldwide availability of IBM MQSeries* Workflow, powerful business process automation and workflow management software that gives organizations more control of their business activities by automating mission-critical processes involving their employees, customers and applications.

Part of IBM's MQSeries family of Business Integration software, IBM MQSeries Workflow is a fully scaleable solution designed to help enterprises align and integrate their resources, lower costs, eliminate errors and improve productivity by delivering the right tasks to the right people at the right time. For example, an insurance claim typically triggers specific actions by individuals or departments throughout an insurance company, each dependent on different information from the claim to complete the task. MQSeries Workflow routes claim information across the organization, automatically launching applications and processes based on a specific workflow model defined by the business.

MQSeries Workflow is built on the secure and reliable foundation of IBM MQSeries (Version 5), IBM's industry-leading, messaging-oriented middleware (MOM) that links disparate activities, systems and applications across an immense variety of heterogeneous platforms.

"Customers already using IBM's Business Integration family of products are reporting higher productivity and better service to customers at reduced costs," said Steve Mills, general manager, Software Solutions, IBM. "This latest enhancement will help these companies become even more agile, customer-oriented and competitive."

In a May 1998 report, International Data Corporation predicts that emerging businessware products based on message-oriented middleware "are likely to deliver a future that for the first time unifies the diversity of applications that are present in today's business." The reports cites IBM for understanding that, in addition to application integration, the businessware customer value proposition includes event-driven processing and business process automation. Products with these features will enable companies to "integrate, energize and automate their businesses across the enterprise and beyond."

Greater Flexibility, More Speed, Easier to Use

MQSeries Workflow is the next version of IBM's industry-acclaimed FlowMark offering, renamed with this version. MQSeries Workflow enables separation of business flows from application logic, and enhances application to application workflow automation. This enables companies in virtually any industry, from banks to non-profit organizations, to create and change their business processes to address market changes in less time, with greater speed and flexibility.

"We see IBM's MQSeries Workflow as forming a core component of our enterprise architecture," said Joseph Gendler, vice president, Chase Manhattan. "We have been benchmarking Flowmark in the current environment and expect an RFA (request for assistance) for a a mid-size project to be processed within two weeks compared to the five-to-eight weeks that it takes now. Results like this practically guarantee that MQSeries Workflow will be a critical part of continuing efforts to improve customer service, reduce costs and eliminate wasted effort."

Network Computing and e-Business

The Internet presents a huge opportunity for the development of new integrated, global solutions. Speed-to-market and quick reaction to market changes are key in this environment. To enable the flexibility needed for e-business, MQSeries Workflow can integrate existing and new application components on distributed platforms, while IT managers can individualize workflow application components or the process model gradually as the business demands.

"Business process workflow will have a profound impact on enterprise infrastructures, particularly as they face the increasing complexities of conducting business globally and electronically," said Judith Hurwitz, president and CEO, Hurwitz Group.

MQSeries Workflow Components at A Glance

MQSeries Workflow enhancements include full support for 32-bit Windows platforms, Windows NT, ActiveX Clients, Client Runtime Libraries and a richer set of development aids. Key features include:

MQSeries Workflow is a component of IBM's award winning EDMSuite. With more than 5000 customers, EDMSuite is an industry-leading portfolio of Web-enabled products including: ContentConnect for single, simultaneous search interface across multiple repositories, ImagePlus for advanced document imaging and folder management, Lotus Domino.Doc for collaborative document management, OnDemand for archiving and presenting computer output, and MQSeries Workflow for enterprise integration and process management. At least half of the top 100 insurers and over half of the top 100 banks in North America currently use EDMSuite components.

Services Support and Solutions Offerings

IBM is committed to working with industry vendors to define interfaces for higher value functions, APIs, tools and management functions for Business Integration. IBM will also provide partnering opportunities for independent software vendors (ISVs) and system integrators (SIs). For example, IBM will work with ISVs to provide complementary solutions, applications, tools, and system management and monitoring offerings. IBM is already working with partners to create and deliver solutions based on MQSeries Workflow.

Workflow Competence Center Services will be set up to provide additional, customizable offerings for a fee, including systems assurance, workflow development, installation support, and migration support to help customers upgrade from FlowMark to MQSeries Workflow. The center will also help developers with testing, training and customization. IBM Global Services, as well as the Workflow Competence Centers, will work jointly with business partners to provide a wide range of services to meet the demands of MQSeries Workflow customers.

Pricing and Availability

The US English version of IBM MQSeries Workflow will be available July 31, 1998 worldwide. Additional language versions will roll out by year end. The product will be available on the following platforms: Windows NT, Windows 95 and AIX in 3Q 1998; OS/2 in 4Q 1998; OS/390, HP-UX, Sun Solaris in 1999. Pricing, based on server capacity and users, starts at $25,000 (US). Upgrades from FlowMark version 2.3 are available starting at $12,500 (US). The product will be distributed through direct channels and business partners.

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