IBM’s Patterns for E-Business

IBM’s Patterns for e-business, which include business, logical and physical patterns, are essentially "technology roadmaps" designed to help organize the issues behind building e-business applications. By describing the technology requirements and implementation strategies, Patterns for e-business provide Web architects with a step-by-step method to build e-business applications. IBM’s Patterns for e-business is available at no charge on IBM developerWorks at www.ibm.com/developerWorks in the Web Architecture Zone.

In the first step, business patterns can be used to help companies strategize how their IT infrastructure can support their business needs. IBM has identified key "e-business Solution Areas" that customers and partners are focusing on in 1999 and 2000. The resulting business patterns address issues such as customer relationship management, e-commerce, supply chain management, collaboration, business intelligence/knowledge management, and business application integration.

For example, a CRM Solution Area will probably demand a thin-client three-tier solution with end-to-end middleware that may be very relevant to many other types of Solution Areas involving users interacting with business.

Logical patterns help define the IT planning process for determining which e-business applications are needed and what function they will they serve. For example, if the goal is to link manufacturing with the supply chain, using the pattern helps determine what types of application features and functions are required.

Physical patterns include information on the "nuts and bolts" of building e-business applications. This third tier offers detailed descriptions of how to implement technologies and information, for example what hardware, software and data is needed to actually build and connect the e-business applications with an existing IT infrastructure.