This week at its PartnerWorld show, IBM Corp. unfurled several collaboration offerings designed to expand the reach its Workplace software in the SMB (small and midize business) market.
Adding to its Workplace Solutions lineup, Big Blue introduced two new vertical industry focused deployment options for SMBs. The new SMB options are IBM Workplace for Healthcare Clinicians and IBM Workplace for Retail Store Operations.
The health care and retail offerings are based on IBM Workplace Services Express, which ties together team collaboration software with an integrated portal.
The vertical industry-focused tools aim to give customers and system integrators blueprints for how to create collaboration environments tailored to solve industry-specific business problems, according to Ken Bisconti, vice president of collaboration for IBM Lotus.
"We look toward industries where we see a good marriage for collaboration and Workplace and a particular vertical," Bisconti said. "We also have some horizontal solutions in the compliance and business controls area, which has been one of the highest areas of interest (and) crosses all verticals."
IBM currently offers more than 18 Workplace Solutions for vertical industries covering areas such as manufacturing, finance, telecommunications, government, and automotive. More vertical offerings will come out throughout the year, Bisconti said.
In addition, IBM rolled out its Workplace Solutions Catalog, offering customers and partners an online resource for accessing technology used to build role-based collaboration offerings. The catalog provides tools, templates, portlets, and other resources to customize Workplace software for specific company and industry needs, according to IBM officials.
In another SMB effort, IBM announced it is bundling Workplace Services Express with the eServer iSeries hardware. The aim is to create an out-of-the-box collaboration and portal offering complete with server hardware designed for SMBs.
The goal is to increase the collaboration capabilities available to midsize companies, Bisconti said.
"With the 2005 release of iSeries we will bundle 20 licenses of Workplace Express with every iSeries computer sold to SMB customers," he said.
In other PartnerWorld collaboration news, IBM and AT&T announced a packaged team collaboration offering for SMBs that integrates Internet access capabilities into the collaboration software. The IBM Workplace Services Express with AT&T Managed Internet Service unites IBM"s collaboration software with AT&T"s secure high-speed Internet access services.