New IBM E-Commerce Bundle Offered on IBM i
September 20, 2011 Alex Woodie
IBM yesterday announced a Power Systems-based e-commerce bundle that’s designed to help retailers drive efficiencies into their business processes, utilize Web analytics effectively, increase fulfillment, and take advantage of cross-channel selling opportunities. Called Smarter Commerce on Power Systems, the new offering is highlighted by IBM’s Power7-based hardware and WebSphere 7 e-commerce server, and gives customers the choice of IBM i, Linux, or AIX operating systems.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you’ve heard about IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative, a “big thinking” program in which Big Blue puts forward solutions that address some of the world’s problems. The new Smarter Commerce offering is part of that program, and is aimed at reclaiming some of the $15 trillion in wasted economic activity that occurs around the world each year (according to its researchers).
IBM says a big chunk of that $15 trillion in waste stems from inefficiencies in commerce, such as inventory backlogs, failed product launches, wasted materials and ineffective marketing campaigns. IBM’s proposed solution to this is Smarter Commerce, which doesn’t propose any magical resolution, but instead appears to try to do all the little things right.
According to IBM’s Smarter Commerce marketing materials, the new offering will allow retailers to launch and manage personalized sales and marketing campaigns, and gain a single view of the customers across all interactions, including placing, viewing, or changing an order; completing a payment; or initiating a return. The software has hooks into all shopping modes, including the Web, mobile commerce, in-store, and kiosks.
Smarter Commerce will help customers to deliver a consistently branded shopping experience across all channels; help them extract data for analysis; and take advantage of social networking, according to IBM. The solution also helps customers connect with their trading partners’ computer systems, using WebSphere MQ integration software and managed file transfer (MFT) software.
IDC had good things to say about IBM’s new “Commerce 2.0” offering, which it has been expecting since IBM’s acquisitions of Coremetrics, Sterling Commerce, and Unica. “IDC believes that IBM Smarter Commerce offers a compelling combination of social, business, e-commerce, and order fulfillment software and services to help customers and prospects deploy Commerce 2.0 systems and embrace the profound shift in the way consumers research, shop for, and purchase goods and services.”
One of the first retailers to take advantage of Smarter Commerce is office equipment and supply giant Staples, which realized $10.2 billion in website sales last year, or 40 percent of its gross. After installing WebSphere Commerce version 7, the company’s Web page download times improved by 25 to 55 percent, the company’s vice president of IT, Ken Moore, says in a press release.
“That’s substantial especially when you consider mobile computing over a 3G and 4G connection delivering the same great experience that our desktop users get,” Staples’ Moore states. Other large retailers using Smarter Commerce include The North Face, True Value, Hertz, and L’Occitane.
The bundle includes a choice of an appropriately sized Power Systems server running AIX, IBM i, or Linux, and the option to add a high-end XIV Storage System SAN array or a midrange Storwize V7000 array.