IBM, Avaya To Make Joint CRM Push

IBM and Avaya agreed to do joint development, marketing sales and services around Avaya's CRM software offerings and IBM's hardware, middleware and services.

SAN FRANCISCO – IBM and Avaya Inc. on Tuesday at IBMs PartnerWorld conference here announced a global strategic alliance to jointly address the customer relationship management software market.

The alliance, which grew out of a deal struck last year to integrate the Avaya Unified Messenger with IBMs Lotus Notes messaging platform, calls for joint development, marketing sales and services around Avayas CRM offerings.

Specifically, Avaya will standardize on IBMs pSeries servers, which run under the AIX operating system, and xSeries servers, which run Intel Corp. processors. The IBM WebSphere Application Server will be the infrastructure of choice for Avayas CRM offerings.

Avaya will also provide major backing for IBMs DB2 database running on AIX and Windows NT, according to David Johnson, senior vice president of worldwide sales and marketing for Avaya, of Basking Ridge, N.J.

IBM for its part will promote Avayas CRM offerings in the financial services and telecommunications industries, where the two firms see the opportunity for greatest success, Johnson said.

The Avaya CRM offerings that will become a part of IBMs e-business portfolio include Interaction Management offerings intended to allow companies to communicate with customers using the Internet, email, telephone, Web chat, Web call back, voice mail and fax. They will also include Commitment Management products that can automate predictable actions and repeatable business processes. A third area of deliverables includes Business Intelligence offerings that provide the analytics around customer buying trends, Johnson explained.

Neither firm would provide details on the size of the commitment, although Robert Timpson, general manager of developer relations at IBM described it as "substantial, but not in the billion-dollar range."

Although the alliance was led by IBMs software organization, IBM Global Services will also take part building professional services around the offerings. It will be a part of IBMs existing CRM practice, which includes thousands of consultants around the globe, according to officials at IBM, of Armonk, N.Y.

Also at PartnerWorld Tuesday, IBM introduced a standards-based framework for telecommunications service providers designed to help speed to market new voice, text and Internet-based services at a lower cost.

The Service Provider Delivery Environment, or SPDE, is intended to allow such services to be created and managed independently of the underlying network. It is based on application programming interfaces from The Parlay Group, a multi-vendor consortium, as well as on Open Mobile Architecture, UDDI, WSDL and Simple Object Access Protocol.

The SPDE incorporates IBMs WebSphere application server, WebSphere Everyplace, WebSphere Portal and WebSphere MQ Integrator.

In other PartnerWorld news, IBM and Intel expanded their xSP Prime program for service providers to the Asia Pacific region, and IBM announced a new version of its e-business Collaboration Evaluation Tool used to help customers identify the new e-business initiatives likely to yield the best return on investment.

The sales tool now provides a guide for decision-making around e-business initiatives that covers up to 21 different industries. IBM will begin making it available to its business partners.