IBM reaping rewards of open standards


20 May 2003

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MUNICH – Computer giant IBM has developed common componentry across its WebSphere, Lotus, DB2, Tivoli and Rational product lines that will enable the company to offer solutions that will help businesses to deploy its technology horizontally across an enitre enterprise as opposed to deploying vertical solutions to suit individual situations.

At the company’s annual Software Symposium, held this year in Munich, senior vice president and IBM group executive Steve Mills told an audience of press, analysts, customers and engineers that the company’s decision to throw its weight behind the open standards movement is beginning to reap rewards.

“We have inserted a common structure to WebSphere for solutions capable of operating seamlessly across our entire software setting, taking in Tivoli, Lotus, Rational and our DB2 database system”, Millls explained. “The result is that in any one deployment, we have achieved some savings of up to 80pc in terms of coding and 50pc in terms of faster time to market.

“The result is our entire product set can now be deployed horizontally across an enterprise, creating a single heterogenous environment for conducting business. That’s the way IBM wants to go, that’s the way forward”, Mills said. “Fundamental to this is our belief in the open standards movement.”

The company’s vice president in charge of software for Europe, Tom Francese confirmed this by stating little over five years ago Linux was considered a technology on the fringe. “Today more than 50pc of the world’s developer community are now working in Linux”, Francese said. “Another key aspect is that business-to-business e-commerce is now firmly entrenched in Europe and middleware technologies and web services are leading the charge.”

While the company’s software architecture has been consolidated to fit a horizontal enterprise vision, it is believed that IBM plans to unveil industry vertical-specific versions of its WebSphere e-business and middleware suite taking in industries including automotive, electronics, pharmaceutical and retail, to name a few. This, the company says, has been driven by greater requirements amongst sectors such as healthcare, for example; a market that is facing new privacy and security requirements.

WebSphere will come with more than 1,000 pre-built company portals, configured with more than 45 customisable business-case templates. The software will also come packaged with pre-built process dashboards or applications that will collate data and provide statistics on business performance. As well as this the company says its technology will be compatible to work with rival systems from Oracle and Microsoft.

By John Kennedy