Somers, NY September 18, 2001 Sell-side B2B e-commerce, the process of making a company's products and services available to other business customers via electronic channels, is projected to grow by more than 30 percent to $7 billion by 2005, according to IDC. As a means of capitalizing on that growth, IBM today announced new software that includes real-time collaboration, business relationship management and security and access controls geared to the B2B world.
The new software, WebSphere Commerce Business Edition Version 5.1, is designed for companies that sell their goods to other companies via an automated process that often includes functions such as requests for quotes (RFQs), trading partner agreements and complex order handling. According to the company, the new version is the first e-commerce software in the industry to bring dynamic collaboration and virtual teaming to the B2B environment. Lotus software, Sametime and Quickplace are integrated into the new release, allowing buyers and suppliers to negotiate terms and discuss the specifics of an order in real time. The software also creates a virtual teaming environment for sharing documents and collaboration.
"We've taken the fundamentals of successful business relationships and automated them for the B2B environment," said Ed Harbour, director, WebSphere Commerce, IBM Software Group. "Using the advanced features of the software, companies can strengthen their business relationships while reducing their operating costs, resulting in better service to their customers and greater customer loyalty."
Among the new features of WebSphere Commerce Business Edition are: real-time collaboration; Business Relationship Manager, a browser-based interface for configuring and modifying business policies and contracts; order and inventory management capabilities; granular access control, which allows an organization to set up a hierarchy of secure access to features and functions, so that only those with a "need to know" are allowed access to certain areas; and Enhanced B2B Store Model.