IBM and MRO Software Inc. this week will announce they are jointly selling hardware and software bundles that enable companies to automate the management of assets, employees and service partner relationships.
The bundles will include MROs Maximo EAM (enterprise asset management) suite running with IBMs WebSphere application server and DB2 data management software on top of the AIX operating system. The software will run on IBM eServer hardware.
Maximo enables companies to manage the life cycle of strategic assets and includes modules for planning, procurement, deployment, tracking, maintenance and retirement.
IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., will also provide consulting, customization and integration services for joint customers, officials said.
IBM and MROs agreement will lead with the packages for energy and utility companies and later branch into the public sector, officials said.
The announcement between IBM and MRO, of Bedford, Mass., formalizes a long-standing relationship between the two companies, according to MRO chief executive Chip Drapeau. The two began collaborating on EAM packages in 1996 and have worked with more than 40 joint customers in a handful of vertical markets, including manufacturing, oil and gas, higher education, and transportation.
MRO will look to expand into additional IBM verticals down the road, according to officials.
"Real-time business on a global basis requires a high level of integration and commitment, and for the utilities industry, I think this represents a good move on the part of both IBM and MRO," said Cynthia Moore, an analyst with Gartner Dataquest, of San Jose, Calif.
"Broadly stated, the enterprise asset management [of energy and utilities assets] is a growing area, and there absolutely is a need for this type of solution in the marketplace," Moore said. "In the current environment, utilities have heightened their focus on improving operational efficiencies and cost reduction. Improved asset management across the enterprise is a key means of reaching those objectives."
As states deregulate utilities, investments in cost savings, such as through better planning and deployment of assets, should pay dividends to energy companies that operate in those states, Moore added.