As opposed to IBM, analysts say competitors such as Microsoft Corp. rely more heavily on partners to provide the industry-specific part of the solution. Since January, the IBM Software Group has announced 62 industry-specific middleware solutions across 12 industries, said Marie Wieck, general manager of industry solutions and business integration for the group. In all, IBM is targeting 17 primary industries but has, to date, produced vertical middleware solutions for 12, Wieck said.The 12 industries for which the 62 middleware solutions have been developed are health care, life sciences, telecommunications, energy and utilities, government, retail, consumer products, electronics, automotive, banking, insurance, and financial markets. At the core of the vertical focus is the IBM WebSphere platform, Mills saidspecifically, WBI (WebSphere Business Integration). "We started to get peoples attention as we rolled out WBI," he said. The WBI product came together using IBM technology combined with technology from the companys acquisition of CrossWorlds Software Inc. and Holosofx Inc. Some examples of IBM middleware solutions include its Middleware Solution for Energy & Utilities Industry Regulatory Compliance, Middleware Solution for Healthcare Markets Clinical Decision Intelligence and Middleware Solution for Government Collaboration. In a new offering, IBM has enhanced its Middleware e-Forms and Records Management Solution for Government to include end-to-end security using IBM Tivoli secure identity and VeriSign Inc. authentication software. The city of Windsor, Ontario, used IBMs Cityscape Portal Solution-City Edition to build a community portal. IBM developed the package with its WebSphere Portal and Lotus Collaboration products such as Lotus Instant Messaging and Lotus Team Workplace. Today, the 280,000 residents of Windsor and nearby Essex have online access to community information and services. "We see the technology as an enabler. This was the most advanced tool we could find that ... would [let us] grow as our users became more sophisticated using this portal," said Kristina Verner, project officer for Windsor. Next Page: ISVs: A key part of IBMs vertical strategy.
"Largely, it was services and sales that had the industry orientation," Wieck said, but over the past nine months, the IBM Software Group has been rolling out solutions industry by industry, she said.