IBM heightens vertical middleware efforts

IBM extended its industry-specific middleware efforts Monday, introducing four software packages aimed at the health care, life sciences, retail and telecommunications sectors.

The introduction marks the second wave of vertical-industry middleware products launched by IBM in the last month. In early February, the company made its debut of software and services bundles for the banking, insurance and finance markets. The launch is part of a companywide effort aimed at pulling together technologies and services that address specific projects for companies in certain vertical markets. By matching the middleware packages to emerging or ongoing business demands in particular industries, IBM says it can better serve customers and increase sales.

IBM's strategy stems from changes in buying patterns as customers increasingly look for products matched to specific projects and dictated by specific areas of business, according to Doug Brown, the company's director of industry marketing. "When IBM decided to go after these industries, it was with the view that a management consultant would have--or, what were the business transformation projects among the top concerns in each market?" said Brown. "In almost every case, these initiatives were oriented toward customers looking to take costs out of mature parts of their business or trying to increase revenue sources in some way."

The telecommunications industry package offers an example of the kinds of problems that the Armonk, N.Y.-based company hopes to address with the bundles, dubbed IBM Middleware Solutions. With that package, customers are offered tools to help integrate operational network technologies and billing systems. Brown said that IBM's middleware set aims to help telecommunications providers more easily introduce new services, such as downloadable games or ring tones.

News source: C|net

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