IBM Updates InfoSphere Product Line

New versions of vendor's middleware, which has proven popular with larger system integrators, will include web services and globalization features. IBM wants to capitalize on growing overseas markets.

IBM's InfoSphere line of information middleware is being updated to provide greater support for globalization and web services. InfoSphere is popular among larger system integrators, and channel partner sales of the software have been growing.

IBM executives at the Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI) world conference in San Diego said the new product versions will help IBM capitalize on growth in international markets. "There's higher growth happening in Brazil, Russia, India and China than happening in western countries, and so that's an area of focus for us," said Michael Curry, IBM's director of product management and strategy for InfoSphere. "We invest in these technologies to be a leader in those markets."

The new products add capabilities to InfoSphere Information Server that let it sort and match names and addresses in languages other than English and from other cultures worldwide. This will be done through service oriented architecture (SOA) enabled interfaces.

IBM  also released a new version of WebSphere Product Center, now known as InfoSphere Master Data Management (MDM) Server for Product Information Management (PIM). This lets businesses maintain one view of product information for use throughout the enterprise and can manage millions of products in different areas.

MDM Server for PIM continues the WebSphere Product Center's mission of getting companies to market more quickly. It is tightly integrated with the InfoSphere Information Server, and both products are targeted at global companies.

"The combination of global name recognition capabilities and global address capabilities "now covering over 240 countries worldwide for address cleansing, twice what we had before," helps companies with a worldwide presence better manage their customer data and their marketing, Curry said.

IBM has translated all the user interfaces of Information Server into eight other languages in addition to English so that "when you have teams in different countries, they can work in their native language," Curry said. These other languages are Chinese, Japanese, Korean, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.

Right now, IBM is playing catch-up to Informatica  in a rapidly growing market. Interest in name and address resolution technology is increasing, according to Informatica marketing director Jim Jarvie. .Informatica recently purchased Nokia subsidiary Identity Systems to provide enterprises with end-to-end data integration.

Globalization is one of three factors driving that interest, according to Jarvie. "Today, with increasing globalization, data entering the data stream is internationalized," he explained. "There's more than Western English, and that's why we see an uptick of interest in doing what we call matching cross-script."

The second factor is regulation. "There are regulatory requirements that everyone who wants to conduct business knows who they're doing business with, so they aren't dealing with suspected criminals or terrorists," Jarvie said.

However, conducting checks on people from other countries is difficult, because "often you don't have their full name, just an address or description," Jarvie said. That's where matching data and addresses is useful.

The third factor is the proliferation of data. "The volume of data we've seen over the past decade has grown exponentially, and some of our biggest customers have been the big data aggregators -- the credit bureaus, the data providers," Jarvie said.

(This article was adapted from

TAGS: SOA,middleware,services,IBM,marketing

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