IBM reorganises software division

IBM is reorganising its software business to focus on a dozen vertical industries. Big Blue's sales development efforts will cease to focus on its five existing brands and target cross-brand application packages instead.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  December 10, 2003

IBM is reorganising its US$13.1 billion software business to focus on a dozen vertical industries. As a result, Big Blue's sales, marketing and development efforts will cease to focus on its five existing software brands - WebSphere, DB2, Rational, Tivoli and Lotus - and target cross-brand application packages tailored for industries instead.

"IBM is taking it software business one level higher by focusing on certain industries and [developing] solutions for these industries based on our technologies," says Bashar Kilani, manager of IBM's software group in the Middle East & North/West Africa.

"For the last three to five years we have been working on brands and we are number one in most of those areas. However, we believe that the market worldwide is asking for value add for its particular industry and we are now going to address that," he explains.

The enhanced vertical focus will centre on insurance, banking, financial services, automotive, retail, consumer packaged goods, utilities, telecommunications, electronics, health care, government and life sciences.

The vertical products will, essentially, be bundles of IBM's existing products that have been customised for each industry. For example, Big Blue's insurance industry offering will include WebSphere for managing claims processing and workflow, DB2 Information Integrator for aggregating claims information from disparate databases and Lotus Notes as a front end for insurance agents.

"In the past our story was end-to-end complete infrastructure, but because we are based on open standards we are able to share components from our different brands and put together solutions that are more industry specific," Kilani explains.

In addition to its own software, IBM will add further value to each package through the numerous independent software vendors (ISVs) with which it works. Big Blue's systems integrators will also be encouraged to add complementary vertical packages to the IBM core as they take the tools to market. Concurrent to this, the vendor will carry out its own customisation work to ensure each industry package has the appropriate engineering, look and feel for each vertical.

"In the banking industry, for example, there are going to be certain formats the technology needs to interact with, such as SWIFT back end, mainframes and so on. These banking related formats will be packaged in our offerings to the banking industry. The software group will provide more focused solutions for each vertical and ensure it has the particular features each requires," says Kilani.

Locally, to the vendor is already working towards the industry specific solution sets and the Middle East team will undergo training in the US during January. From there, products will be made available in the region as soon as they go to market in the States.

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