IBM Unveils New Middleware Solutions for Energy & Utilities, Government and Consumer Products Customers

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SOMERS, NY - 19 Apr 2004: IBM today announced 15 new middleware solutions to help customers automate and manage industry-specific processes that are unique to the Energy & Utilities, Government and Consumer Products markets. With this announcement, IBM has introduced more than 60 new middleware solutions, spanning 12 industries, since the beginning of 2004.

The Energy & Utilities, Government and Consumer Products industries face challenges such as legislative and regulatory change, privacy and security issues and demand for increased industry collaboration. IBM's new middleware solutions address these issues.

For example, one Energy & Utilities solution provides a real-time status picture of remote assets, including gas or electric pipelines, electric relay substations or analog flow meters. By connecting these assets to a system of automated data collection, the solution can help utility companies to reduce outage time and shorten the customer invoicing process from weeks to minutes. A government solution using IBM's collaboration software tools can help government employees access critical applications and information faster in order to provide constituent services more efficiently. New middleware solutions for Consumer Products companies can help maintain brand consistency across multiple channels such as print and web and improve inventory tracking.

Today's announcement also includes pervasive and wireless computing solutions that help enterprises in numerous industries extend key business information to their mobile sales and field forces wherever they're doing business. Benefits to organizations and customers include improved employee productivity, better customer service and earning a greater return on their information technology investment.

IBM Middleware Solutions for Energy & Utilities
Utilities are seeking to reduce operational costs while improving customer service. Addressing these challenges, IBM Software has developed five new software offerings that help utilities integrate and optimize their internal processes, improve customer care, maintain regulatory compliance, lower operating costs and maximize productivity and revenue.

"IBM's middleware, including WebSphere Voice Products, has been an important contributing factor to enable our joint utility customers to move to automated services, such as requesting new electric service or on-line bill payment," said Thomas Chisholm, CEO and President of Viecore, an IBM Business Partner. "IBM's and Viecore's solutions provide utility companies all the tools they need to automate common customer interactions, eliminating a major drain on resources and operational costs."

The five Energy & Utilities solutions are:

IBM Middleware Solutions for Government
IBM delivers a broad suite of Government solutions that leverage IBM's capabilities, thought leadership and Business Partners portfolio to help Governments reduce costs and improve service to their constituents.

The five new middleware solutions for the Government industry focus on integration of data, compliance and the increased productivity of governments and constituents.

"IBM's middleware solutions have helped streamline Miami Dade County's open, rapid-integration capabilities and have allowed the county to deploy new services in a fraction of the time and cost it would have taken using traditional point-to-point integration. A major part of this efficiency derives from the framework's ability to create common elements and reuse them to build other services," said Judi Zito, CIO, Miami Dade County. "Our citizens are thrilled with the level of service we've been able to provide through IBM's portal service."

IBM Middleware Solution for Consumer Products
In the consumer products market, competition is tough, customers are savvy, and regulatory compliance mandates mean companies must improve financial processes. Up front, the pressure is on to deliver new, innovative products at lower costs; behind the scenes it's about linking disparate data in multiple information sources, streamlining supply chains and improving communications with retailers and customers.

Five new Middleware Solutions for Consumer Products are helping companies with these objectives. They are:

"IBM is focused on its customers' needs, not speeds and feeds. That's why we seek out the industry issues that are important to our clients. We want a partnership role in helping create business value," said Doug Brown, Vice President of Marketing, Industry Solutions.

Earlier this year, IBM announced industry solutions for banking, insurance, financial markets, retail, healthcare, life sciences, automotive, electronics and telecommunications customers.

Each industry solution combines four elements: IBM middleware technology from one or more of its five software brands (WebSphere, DB2, Tivoli, Lotus and Rational), industry-specific middleware from IBM, industry-specific services from IBM and others, and industry-specific application software from IBM's network of Business Partners. At their core, each solution represents the middleware needed in an on demand operating environment that can be flexibly tailored to help customers accelerate revenue streams and improve profit margins.

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Information Management, Lotus, Tivoli, Rational, WebSphere, Open standards, open source