IBM is following through on plans announced late last year to gear its integration software offerings for specific vertical industries.
The Armonk, N.Y., company last week rolled out a series of middleware offerings that look to provide functionality that deals with specific business issues or processes at financial services firms, banks and insurance companies. IBMs Risk and Compliance module, for example, helps financial companies manage regulated processes such as internal controls, data retention, financial publishing and operational risk management, officials said.
IBM will offer service and support to complement the middleware, and point customers to third-party applications.
With the financial sector facing increased regulations, IBM developed five new integration offerings geared toward helping companies retool business processes for compliance. In addition to Risk and Compliance, the new software offerings include Front Office Insight, Trade and Order Management, Financial Information Interchange, and Post-Execution Integration.
IBMs banking middleware, on the other hand, looks to solve customer service issues. Those modules include Wholesale Payments Processing, Branch Transformation, Core Systems Transformation, Channel Empowerment and Risk Compliance.
The insurance middleware is geared toward helping insurance agencies improve their operating efficiencies. Those offerings include Integrated Claims Management, Integrated Underwriting, Policy Management, Channel Distribution Integration and Insurance Customer Insight.
The Channel Distribution Integration module leverages IBMs WebSphere stable of integration tools, including Business Integration, Portal and Tivoli components. December, IBM said it would accelerate software sales with an industry-specific approach that included training more than half its sales force with technical and industry expertise, putting more money into its partner program to speed application development for small and midsize companies, and offering vertically oriented software for all its brands.
Integrating applications for specific industries is not new for IBM. Last year, Hancock Bank, a unit of Hancock Holding Co., wanted to connect a Windows-based e-mail archiving system from ZipLip Inc. with its IBM mainframe, which runs Linux. IBM partnered with ZipLip, based in Mountain View, Calif., to create an integration application.
“The capabilities that [IBM] is giving us, to be able to bring stuff from different platforms, [is a big deal],” said Walter Hatten, senior vice president and technology support manager at Hancock Bank, in Gulfport, Miss. “The [middleware offering] that IBM is doing is enabling us to bring some … things back into a mainframe environment.”