Three months after buying Trigo Technology Inc., IBM is putting the finishing touches on a middleware offering based on Trigos product information management technology, as well as a road map for the technology going forward.
The WebSphere Product Center software, which IBM will announce this week, provides the ability to manage and synchronize product information—critical capabilities for initiatives such as RFID (radio-frequency identification) and supply chain management, where companies trade data with customers, partners and suppliers.
Formerly known as Trigo Product Center, the IBM middleware integrates and centrally manages product information. It also matches product-related information with a function term—pricing, for example—and synchronizes that information with internal and external systems.
The latest version of the PIM (product information management) software will enable companies to integrate and centrally manage product, location, promotion, trading partner, organization and pricing information.
WebSphere Product Center lets administrators group users and system privileges by business roles—an addition that precludes the need for administrators to assign security individually to users.
At the same time, administrators are able to gather like information—pricing, for example—into one group. The upgrade also enables multiple users to work on the same information simultaneously and provides content automatically tailored to a user based on geography.
Later this year, IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., plans to integrate WebSphere Product Center with several of its other middleware offerings, including WebSphere Commerce, WebSphere Portal, RFID middleware, and employee and trading partner portals. It will also integrate WebSphere Product Center with its vertical offerings for global data synchronization, consumer-driven supply chains and enterprise data management for retail, distribution and manufacturing.
The joint offering of WebSphere Product Center with Commerce will create a single product called Enterprise Commerce that provides functionality for content creation, visualization, approval, customization and delivery. The integration of WebSphere Product Center and IBMs Portal software will enable companies to provide product information to large communities—employees, partners and customers, officials said.
At the same time, IBM will deploy WebSphere Product Center as the central repository underlying its RFID middleware. The repository will handle electronic product code information services.
"Whats happening is that there are so many initiatives going on that require companies to get control over product information," said Dan Druker, director of product information management solutions at IBM Software Group, in White Plains, N.Y. "Its a completely green field—there is nothing that does this. PIM comes closest."