Making further inroads into business-to-business online transactions, IBM announced today a partnership with MarketMile LLC and an expanded WebSphere Business Partner initiative.
The IBM and MarketMile partnership is designed to help customers quickly reap the benefits of e-procurement by tracking and managing indirect spending.
MarketMile is an e-procurement service provider founded by American Express.
As part of the agreement, MarketMile will provide expanded application options, supplier enablement and functionality for IBMs Leveraged Procurement Service.
The LPS offering is part of Big Blues e-business on demand package that combines sourcing software with sourcing expertise from IBM Global Services to help companies conduct B2B transactions over the Internet.
Other IBM on demand services include e-procurement, remote network management, managed storage, managed hosting and document exchange.
The partnership with MarketMile will extend LPS to include MarketMiles hosted e-procurement app and its supplier network. Such MarketMile services as catalog management, supplier enablement and adoption management are also included.
With the new offering customers will have access to a number of suppliers, including those pre-selected by IBM and MarketMiles network of more than 60 suppliers.
The suppliers cover about 95 percent of the standard products in indirect spending categories like office products, computer hardware and software, and certain categories of maintenance, repair and operations materials, according to IBM officials in Armonk, N.Y.
MarketMiles catalog management service does allow suppliers to customize pricing to reflect existing contracts, according to officials in Mountain View, Calif.
Separately, IBM announced at its PartnerWorld conference today an expanded WebSphere Business Partner initiative to help companies better integrate applications and business processes across the enterprise.
The new Business Partner initiative is an effort to accelerate the deployment of Web services in the financial services, health care and telecommunications industries, according to IBM officials.
As part of the initiative, IBM announced the launch of an online, real-time training "e-lab" for programmers, as well as new commerce-based programs to help business partners drive new revenue.
The new Web services Business Partner initiative--called WebServices on WebSphere--will be launched in the second quarter of 2002. It will act as a community for sharing technology and business strategies to develop and deploy Web services built on Java2 Enterprise Edition.
IBM expects the initiative will involve more than 150 business partners by year end.