IBM forms e-commerce links

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IBM, i2 Technologies Inc. and Ariba are joining in a broad, strategic alliance to deliver the industry's first end-to-end solution for business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce and collaboration.

The alliance includes the integration of technologies, global marketing and selling of targeted solutions, and an equity investment from IBM into both Ariba and i2. Together, the companies will offer advanced open solutions immediately to meet three critical aspects of accelerating the B2B economy:

*       Full-service marketplaces: The companies will use their technologies to create an integrated B2B marketplace solution that enables businesses to rapidly build and deploy full-service marketplaces.

*    Integrated supply chain: The companies will provide an integrated enterprise commerce solution to help businesses incorporate B2B into their buying, selling and supply chain processes from order to fulfillment, and to allow them to integrate their processes to customers, suppliers and marketplaces.

*       Range of open services: The companies will work together to deliver a common suite of open network-based commerce services, including payment, logistics, auction and collaboration to power enterprises and marketplaces. The integrated offering, available both as hosted Internet solutions and software solutions, will provide customers with rapid time-to-value, marketplace functionality and a comprehensive solution that is available now.

The integrated solution is expected to dramatically impact B2B by providing a solution to automate all business interactions between trading partners -- delivering greater cost savings, efficiencies and competitive advantage to global corporations and marketplaces. Companies and marketplaces will be able to seamlessly integrate processes across the B2B and B2C value chains. These processes include direct and indirect materials sourcing and procurement, payments, customer management, order fulfillment, product life cycle management, logistics, manufacturing, and supply chain collaboration.

The alliance is based on the following key assets: 

*    IBM's advanced e-business hardware, software and services capabilities, supply chain and e-procurement expertise as well as its worldwide presence, partnerships and intellectual property portfolio;

*       The Ariba B2B e-commerce platform, which includes its B2B marketplace, dynamic trade and procurement solutions and Ariba network commerce services;

*       i2's TradeMatrix services and B2B platform which power B2B and B2C marketplaces with intelligent decision support for direct procurement, fulfillment, supply chain management, commerce, product development, customer care and retail solutions.

Under the alliance:

*       The companies will integrate their technologies to provide a comprehensive open marketplace platform, which will be resold to both vertical and horizontal market makers through IBM, i2 and Ariba channels;

*       IBM will integrate i2's TradeMatrix marketplace solution and the Ariba B2B e-commerce platform with existing IBM technology and deploy it across its global operations in order to capture and manage a significant portion of its $45 billion annual procurement spending. The integrated solution will enable enterprise commerce and collaboration for managing both direct and indirect goods;

*       From IBM Global Services' workforce of 138,000 employees, IBM will create a team of professionals who specialize in the integrated solution;

*       The alliance's solution will be sold by IBM's global sales force with support from a team of IBM sales specialists;

*       IBM Global Services will provide global operations, support services, systems integration and hosting services to Ariba and i2 and will be the preferred provider to alliance customers;

*       Both Ariba and i2 will extend their solution platforms with IBM's e-business software, including WebSphere, WebSphere Commerce Suite, DB2 and MQSeries and will optimize their solutions for IBM's server platforms;

*       Both Ariba and i2 will gain existing IBM e-procurement technology, which will be integrated as an extension to their current B2B solutions;

*       i2 will gain existing IBM solutions for supply chain planning, retail merchandising and replenishment;

*       Ariba and i2 will enter into patent cross-licensing agreements with IBM;

*       IBM will make minority equity investments in i2 and Ariba. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"E-markets are exploding, and the companies that lead in the B2B marketplace will be those that get there first with the best solutions," said William A. Etherington, senior vice president and group executive, IBM sales and distribution. "That's why this alliance is so important. IBM, Ariba, and i2 have taken the best of what we each have to offer and created a solution and a set of tools that will immediately allow customers -- whether they want to improve internal efficiencies or become market makers -- to not only get in the game, but win."

"The complementary combination of IBM's e-business experience and Ariba's B2B e-commerce platform, with i2's TradeMatrix marketplace solutions and platform will create real value in the B2B market, said Sanjiv Sidhu, i2 chairman and CEO. "This unprecedented alliance will enable companies to rapidly build and launch B2B marketplaces, enabling customers to jump to the next curve in the business-to-business economy."

"Our strategic alliances with IBM and i2 provide our current and future customers with unmatched solutions and resources to win in the new B2B economy," said Keith Krach, chairman and CEO, Ariba. "The expanded breadth and reach will more rapidly extend the benefits of the proven Ariba B2B eCommerce platform to companies of all kinds and sizes and in all geographies." A Truly Open B2B Platform for the Marketplace and the Enterprise

IBM, Ariba and i2 will work together to continually advance the state-of-the-art in B2B e-commerce technologies. The alliance will capitalize on the value of IBM's portfolio of intellectual property, including e-commerce business methods, software, and Internet patents. Through a joint competency center in California, the three companies will enhance Internet-based procurement processes and best practices.

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