Swing Your PartnerDirect, Do Si Do

IBM, iXL create offering for manufacturing industry

Atlanta  July 27, 2001  iXL and IBM today announced the formation of PartnerDirect, a joint solutions offering for the manufacturing industry. PartnerDirect is designed to provide faster, more cost-effective private exchanges for mid-tier manufacturers and their distributors, customers and partners. Private hubs such as PartnerDirect offer companies a secure, integrated venue for dynamic collaboration with customers. According to Forrester Research, companies with complex products and multiple business partner relationships can save nearly 10 percent of cost of sales within three years of implementing a private hub solution.

PartnerDirect grew from iXL's participation in the IBM Web Integrator Initiative, which deploys IBM's e-business technology offerings, including hardware and software tools, via business solutions providers. The solution includes three other iXL Alliance Partners: Vignette, Cybrant and Idiom, who contribute integrated content management, complex product configuration and multilingual capabilities respectively.

PartnerDirect specifically targets customers with IBM AS/400 environments who want to extend enterprise resource planning (ERP) functionality to a secure partner extranet. The solution employs IBM eServer xSeries servers, which supply the extranet front-end functionality.

iXL will utilize core IBM e-business technologies in a unique packaged offering for clients with PartnerDirect. Within the next four months, iXL Manufacturing will train six project teams to implement the PartnerDirect solution. IBM technologies targeted in the training include the WebSphere application server and software platform, and the MQSeries family of Web transaction systems products.

iXL Manufacturing has deployed secure online partner extranets for top industrial clients including The Chamberlain Group, Danaher Corp. and GE. These extranet sites have proven successful in lowering costs and increasing customer satisfaction while providing a significant advantage over competitors. A variety of extranet processes were utilized in these sites, such as integrating order-entry with the supply chain systems; streamlining and Web-enabling front-end user interaction; conducting back-end integration with pricing to provide real-time order availability and quoting capabilities; and providing a single user experience for the customers of multi-divisional companies.

"We anticipate PartnerDirect will be an essential online solution for the Manufacturing industry," said Patrick Kelley, global managing partner for iXL's Manufacturing group. "The strength of the iXL-IBM Alliance Partnership, paired with the market demand for this solution, will substantially increase the business impact that we bring to iXL's Manufacturing clients."

"PartnerDirect leverages a combination of some of the best technology, software and  ervice offerings from IBM, with the unique industry and delivery capabilities and manufacturing expertise from iXL," said Mark Olmstead, director, IBM Global Alliances.