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IBM Rolls New M'Ware For Verticals

IBM rolled another round of middleware packages targeted for vertical industries Monday, the latest in its strategy of providing software tools and middleware packages for specific sectors.

This time, the packages are geared for government, consumer products and energy and utilities sectors, with unique connectors and codifiers that help independent software vendors (ISVs) roll out applications quickly for industry-specific needs.

Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive for IBM's software group, said the latest toolsets brings to 130 the number of industry-specific toolset packages that IBM has rolled to vertical industries. Based on WebSphere app server tools, DB2 database management, Tivoli systems management, Lotus messaging and even Rational testing tools, the latest release is geared for the energy and utilities, government and consumer products markets.

In all, IBM has released industry specific toolsets that span 12 industries, each of which help automate industry-specific tasks.

For example, five packages comprise the energy and utilities section, such as contact center optimizer that is designed for cutting call center costs; a compliance package that helps utilities manage their network security; workforce management tools designed for field crews' collaboration needs; trading and settlement, which is geared for reducing energy trading risk by provider traders capacity-usage information.

IBM's Consumer Products packages focus on the traditional supply chain management concerns of consumer product manufacturers. But in addition, it includes a new feature called IBM WebSphere Product Center, which is a ready-made connector for building applications that enable global data synchronization, which is helping lay the groundwork for software that helps organize a glut of information coming from RFID tags.

"At the end of the day, customers want the processes," Mills said of the tools, rather than a focus on the technologies itself. "We're adding the connective tissue for things to run together" using the connectors built into the middleware packages.

The packages represent the third major release of industry-specific tools that IBM has rolled out, since IBM reorganized its software division for market sectors.