IBM Unveils Software to Help Businesses Better Manage Product Information

IBM WebSphere Product Center to Link With Other IBM Products to Support Global Data Synchronization, RFID, e-Commerce, and Portal Initiatives

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SOMERS, NY - 22 Jul 2004: IBM today announced new software to help businesses better manage and gain control over product information and to enable increasingly popular initiatives such as radio frequency identification (RFID), global data synchronization, electronic commerce and portals.

Approximately 90 days after acquiring Trigo Technologies, IBM is introducing IBM WebSphere Product Center Version 5, middleware designed to help customers develop a central, accurate and comprehensive repository of product information that is synchronized with internal systems and shared across supply chains.

IBM WebSphere Product Center enables customers to manage and link comprehensive product, trading partner, location, organization, pricing and promotion information. For example, large global businesses can use IBM WebSphere Product Center to consolidate information about millions of products from multiple legacy systems. The software improves how information is handled throughout an organization, reduces errors, redundant data and manual processes and makes it easier for users, customers and trading partners to access product information.

Global Data Synchronization, one of the many initiatives for which IBM WebSphere Product Center is being deployed, is a standards-based process by which manufacturers and retailers can exchange product information. In a September, 2003 AMR Research Alert, Kara Romanow identified a potential $40 billion annual savings in data synchronization. IBM WebSphere Product Center can help IBM customers tap into these potential savings by easing the implementation of robust, production-quality global data synchronization.

IBM WebSphere Product Center contains significant new technology to help improve productivity and performance in global implementations that involve thousands of users, tens of thousands of trading partners and millions of products. Some of the new features and benefits include:

Improved Productivity for System Administrators:

IBM WebSphere Product Center Version 5 now includes IBM WebSphere Application Server, IBM DB2 Information Integrator to store and access product information from any repository, IBM WebSphere MQ and WebSphere Business Integration Adapter for WebSphere MQ to move information between disparate systems. This greatly reduces both complexity and total cost of ownership for customers investing in product information management.

IBM is also linking IBM WebSphere Product Center with cross-company initiatives and other IBM WebSphere products including IBM WebSphere Commerce and IBM WebSphere Portal; IBM solutions for RFID and for employee and trading partner portals; and IBM vertical offerings focused on the retail, distribution, consumer products and manufacturing sectors for global data synchronization, consumer-driven supply chains, and enterprise data management.

Jointly offering IBM WebSphere Product Center with WebSphere Commerce will allow IBM to deliver a single solution for enterprise commerce that spans content creation, visualization, approval, customization and delivery. The combination will serve to decrease time to market for new product introductions and improve productivity for merchandisers.

Integrating IBM WebSphere Product Center with WebSphere Portal and other IBM solutions such as On Demand Workplace for Employees and IBM's trading partner portal initiative for business partners will provide customers with the ability to deliver rich, interactive and comprehensive product information to very large communities of customers, employees and business partners. This can lead to better educated employees, more savvy consumers and improved relationships between business partners.

IBM WebSphere Product Center can also be used in a wide range of radio frequency identification (RFID) initiatives. Information from RFID and Electronic Data Interchange networks can be combined with global data synchronization and enterprise data managed by IBM WebSphere Product Center to enable new classes of business solutions.

"IBM's significant momentum over the past 90 days with new and implemented customers and enhanced IBM WebSphere Product Center technology underscores the value companies are placing on product information management," said Paraic Sweeney, vice president of product information management solutions, IBM. "With our proven technology and new product developments in the works, customers are well-positioned to accelerate new product time to market, eliminate manual processes and increase performance."

IBM WebSphere Product Center V5 is available beginning today.

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