IBM, CommercialWare Team on Retail E-Business

You’ve probably seen those IBM commercials in which a couple vacationing in Europe is startled to find an elderly Italian woman and her storefront shop up and running on the Internet—and competing with them. The message of course, is that IBM-powered servers can help merchants get up and running on the Web—fast.

Thanks to a partnership with CommercialWare Inc., Big Blue is putting additional muscle behind its advertising messages.
Thanks to a recent partnership with CommercialWare Inc. (Natick, Mass.)—a provider of business-to-consumer (B2C) retail commerce solutions—Big Blue is putting additional muscle behind its advertising messages.

In early May, IBM took the wraps off of a strategic alliance with CommercialWare. According to the terms of their partnership, both IBM and CommercialWare agreed to provide a solutions package geared toward retailers in the B2C e-commerce space.

The proposed IBM/CommercialWare solution package includes both software and hardware components, in addition to implementation, maintenance and support services. Moreover, both companies have announced plans to develop an end-to-end training program that covers e-commerce basics such as Web storefront design and extends through to post implementation services.

Both IBM and CommercialWare will attempt to woo prospective merchants by means of a solution that proposes a marriage of Big Blue’s WebSphere Web application server environment, Netfinity or AS/400 servers and CommercialWare’s own application suite.Additionally, the IBM/CommercialWare e-commerce solution will leverage IBM’s MQSeries message queuing technology to insure reliable routing and delivery of Web transactions.

According to Deborah Wick, a spokesperson with the global midmarket business unit in IBM’s retail industry segment, IBM’s partnership with CommercialWare enables it to offer an end-to-end solution geared specifically for the retail space.

"Through our relationship with CommercialWare, IBM will be able to offer a complete end-to-end, multichannel e-commerce enabled retail application," Wick avers.

For its part, Wick maintains, CommercialWare will likely benefit by virtue of its partnership with IBM, as well. “CommercialWare enjoys access to a significant marketing program, sales leads and resources, hardware, software, financing and services capability," she concludes.

Aside from gaining a foothold in the merchant retail space, IBM’s partnership with CommercialWare gives it another opportunity to showcase WebSphere, which Big Blue is rapidly seeking to position as a platform in and of itself. When it announced a migration plan to move existing users off OS/2 last month, for example, Big Blue’s proposed migration schemes heavily leveraged WebSphere.

According to research firm Forrester Research, Internet retailing in the United States will likely grow from just over $20 billion in 1999 to approximately $144 billion by 2003. Additionally, Forrester expects that Internet sales could account for 6 percent of all retail purchasing by 2003. In that light, IBM’s strategy may well be a timely one, especially if its partnership with CommercialWare helps to position Big Blue as a preferred provider of choice for any of the thousands of small merchants that haven’t yet Web-enabled their businesses.

Related Information:

  • CommercialWare (new window)
  • IBM WebSphere Commerce Community (new window)
  • IBM MQSeries Page (new window)