IBM Launches New E-Commerce Program

Focusing on the continued growth of e-commerce with an eye toward financial institutions and small- and medium-sized businesses, IBM launched the Merchant Enablement Program (MEP). This new program is designed to enable banks and credit card processors to offer companies a portfolio of turnkey IBM e-commerce solutions that make it easy to set up shop on the Web.

The AS/400 will serve as a platform for some of these e-commerce solutions. "AS/400 will be a great platform for these programs," says Mike Odierna, IBM's worldwide e-business segment manager. "Its security and reliability is unmatched." According to Odierna, the AS/400 continues to grow as an e-business tool "because customers realize the value of an AS/400; it's a great business computing machine. It's good for business-to-business and business-to-consumer transactions because it's reliable and very secure in terms of placing credit card orders [for example]."

Odierna says IBM developed MEP because many companies are focusing on their customers' needs. The MEP provides participants with pre-packaged merchant and payment server software, hardware and Web hosting services and can accommodate companies at any stage of e-business. The program offers a variety of services that enable financial institutions to deliver tailored solutions to merchants depending on their e-commerce needs. For more advanced financial institutions, MEP provides opportunities to offer merchants full e-commerce services.

"We're helping our financial customers broaden relationships with their customers by giving them an e-commerce package they can offer as an extension to their existing financial services," says Karl Salnoske, general manager of electronic commerce for IBM Software Solutions. "This is a definite win-win-win. Merchants get a standards-based, scalable solution. Financial institutions get an easy-to-implement customer retention tool. And IBM reaches new customers with industry-leading merchant and payment technology."

-- J. Martin