IBM Delivers New Software Offerings for the Agile Business

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2010-05-06

LAS VEGAS -- With business agility being a code phrase for what IBM is trying to deliver to its customer base, the company has delivered a set of new software offerings to help customers optimize their processes to increase efficiencies, reduce costs and find ways to grow their businesses.

IBM unveiled its new products at its IBM Impact 2010 conference here, where Craig Hayman, general manager of IBM's WebSphere product line, described business agility as the ability for a business or enterprise to adapt rapidly to changes. And business processes are the key to agility, he said. Moreover, agile businesses outperform others by working smarter, said Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president, Middleware Software, for IBM Software Group.

IBM's new software expands the company's presence in the business process management (BPM) marketplace. In the first quarter of 2010, IBM reported double-digit revenue growth in its BPM and integration software portfolio.  Recognizing the increased demands from organizations to automate and integrate their businesses, IBM has built a base of over 20,000 practitioners, and is investing more than $1 billion annually through R&D in addition to strategic acquisitions over the past 18 months, Hayman said.

"We are living in a business environment that is seeing unprecedented changes in the way people work, but at the same time presents enormous opportunities to expand productivity and profitability," Hayman said in a statement.  "Through better business process management, organizations can manage ad-hoc and automate time-intensive tasks, freeing employees to do higher value work and providing consistent, repeatable and more efficient outcomes."

As part of its overall push to help enterprises fuel growth, IBM introduced more than 30 new products and services including the IBM Business Process Management Suite, which has been expanded to include IBM WebSphere Lombardi Edition and enhancements to IBM WebSphere Dynamic Process Edition. The IBM WebSphere Lombardi Edition provides visibility and real-time control to help process owners react and adjust quickly to market pressures, regulatory changes, or other external forces. And the IBM WebSphere Dynamic Process Edition delivers new feature packs that provide enhanced functionality and new capabilities to enable increased productivity and smarter insight.

The IBM BPM Blueprint is a new Web-based offering designed to help employees, partners and suppliers participate in communicating and improving business processes, ideas and initiatives.

Moreover, the IBM ILOG Business Rules Management System features easier and more comprehensive rule authoring for business users to automate the decision-making process, IBM officials said. Business rules govern everything from processes to decision-making and give companies analytics capabilities to help them react more quickly to changing circumstances.

In addition, IBM is delivering enhancements to IBM WebSphere Commerce, which is a customer interaction platform that allows retailers and shoppers to share information, events, wish lists and more on social networking sites. And the IBM Rational Automation Framework for WebSphere (RAFW) provides a customizable and extensible framework to automate environment administration for the WebSphere family of products.

In addition to the new products and services, IBM announced enhancements to the joint Center of Excellence between its Software Group and Global Business Services to help clients achieve greater agility and business performance. The enhancements support the delivery of new industry solution accelerators that provide industry-specific templates to help clients in banking, insurance, health care, telecommunications and industrial product lifecycle management accelerate their BPM projects. The offerings are based on industry standards and can be can be customized to meet an individual client's unique business needs.

In the first quarter of 2010, IBM WebSphere grew 13 percent, while its integration software grew by more than 20 percent. ILOG, which plays a key role in IBM's Smarter Planet initiative by providing business rules management, grew by more than 30 percent. 

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