IBM to Pilot SaaS Offering for Smarter Commerce

Vendor extends initiative to capitalize on $20 billion market opportunity.

September 21, 2011

D.H. Kass

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IBM Corp. said that it will test market a program to broaden its Smarter Commerce initiative for business partners, adding in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications gained from its acquisitions last year of Coremetrics, Sterling Commerce and Unica.

IBM pegs the Smarter Commerce market for software alone at about $20 billion in annual sales opportunities worldwide. Including hardware and services, the vendor estimates the segment at some $70 billion globally.

Under the new SaaS application pilot program, which IBM said it will kick off later this year, channel partners will be urged to include SaaS applications as part of a Smarter Commerce solution, an effort the vendor hopes will expand the overall reach of its Smarter Commerce platform to a wider span of partners.

The initial trial will include web analytics in enterprise market management and business-to-business connectivity in commerce, officials said.

IBM said that buying Coremetrics, Sterling and Unica, which, in sum, cost the vendor more than $2 billion, not only gained it technology but also a cadre of some 500 SaaS- and cloud-oriented business partners, some of which it can tap for the new pilot program.

Coremetrics, a web analytics specialist, Sterling Commerce, which offers business transaction, selling and fulfillment software, and Unica’s marketing automation software, along with IBM’s WebSphere software, comprise much of the vendor’s Smarter Commerce portfolio.

IBM’s inaugural Smarter Commerce Global Summit conference for partners and end customers is in progress this week, and the vendor said it will pursue deeper engagement with venture capital firms, independent software vendors, value added distributors, value-added resellers, systems integrators and other business partners.

The vendor said that it will offer its Software Value Plus Smarter Commerce Capability authorization to partners who have attended Smarter Commerce events. Last spring, IBM began certifying channel partners to offer its Smarter Commerce solutions under the Software Value Plus banner.

Newly authorized partners include CrossView, Zobrist Consulting Group, Rosetta Marketing Group, 20:20 Technology, Ascendant, Sirius Computing Solutions, Trifecta Technologies and Perficient.

"Smarter Commerce represents a new playing field for IBM business partners and gives us a huge opportunity to compete for commerce, online and off-line," said Teresa Zobrist, Zobrist Consulting chief executive.

TAGS: IBM,SaaS,smarter commerce,Software Value Plus

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