IBM Corp will continue to round out its supply chain management offerings today by announcing its second strategic partnership in just over a month, this time with Stockholm-based Industri- Matematik International Corp (IMI). In a deal similar to the one it struck with leading supply chain vendor i2 Technologies Inc in August, IBM said the […]
IBM Corp will continue to round out its supply chain management offerings today by announcing its second strategic partnership in just over a month, this time with Stockholm-based Industri- Matematik International Corp (IMI). In a deal similar to the one it struck with leading supply chain vendor i2 Technologies Inc in August, IBM said the two companies would co-market and sell IBM hardware and IMI applications through their global direct sales teams. This isn’t a reselling agreement as such, rather IBM and IMI salespeople will work closely together during the sales process. IBM said there was a chance it might resell IMI’s software in some parts of the world (under the deal with i2 agreed to resell that software in Japan), but added that no definite decisions had been made yet. In some cases, all three vendors, IBM, i2 and IMI, could work together, the company said.
John Wilson, director of business development for supply chain solutions said that the partnership will fill an important hole in IBM’s supply chain puzzle. The deal with i2 gave it supply chain planning functionality, but IMI’s fulfillment software enables businesses to execute those plans. Wilson said that the company’s flagship product, Vivaldi, was ideally suited for manufacturers that need to be able to execute high numbers of orders in a short a time as possible. It’s also really important when companies move to e-business and have to deal with multi- channel supply chains over the web as well as direct, he said. It’s crucial that they can fulfill those demands efficiently and in the best time. For that reason, he said the two would at first target specific industries and gradually expand the offering to a wider range of manufacturers. Those in the first run include wholesale, retail, hi-tech electronics, consumer durables and consumer packaged goods. All these have common aspects around high volume movement of goods and the requirement to execute in a flawless fashion, Wilson said.
When it signed the deal with i2, IBM said one of the aims of forming partnerships in the supply-chain sector was to get those companies to sign up to promote and use IBM’s e-business framework. The framework defines IBM’s core middleware products – MQ Series, Websphere application server, Tivoli TME network management software and Lotus Domino – that companies need in order to web-enable their supply chains and start selling goods over the web. Big Blue succeeded in getting i2 on board and yesterday IMI said it would also endorse the technology. Also, like the i2 deal, Wilson said that IBM would sell IMI’s software across all its platforms, RS/6000, AS400 and Netfinity, adding that about half of IMI’s existing customers already run IBM systems. The two also pledged to work together to promote supply chain standards. Not surprisingly, IBM plans to use the deal to offer joint customers pre- and post-sale consultancy and services. In addition, it said it will establish global centers of excellence featuring combined IBM and IMI solutions.
Wilson noted that IBM plans to form at least one or two other partnerships in the supply chain sector and said that announcements would be made in the next month or so. He said there was still some debate as to whether to partner for geographical purposes to go for vertical industries. We plan to have three or four key partnerships…maximum, he said.