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IBM Shortens Time to Market

IBM announced an enhanced product information management software bundle this week that integrates product, commerce and portal functionality to help companies get to market quicker.

Some of the underlying technology behind WebSphere Product Center was acquired last year by IBM when it bought middleware vendor Trigo.

IBM WebSphere Product Center version 5.2, which is comprised of IBM WebSphere Commerce and IBM WebSphere Portal, helps expedite the process of bringing companies' products to market, Dan Druker, IBM director of product information management, told internetnews.com.

WebSphere Product Center gives suppliers new ways to manage their products within retailers.

The new functionality allows the retailer to extend their systems to their suppliers using portal technology, said Druker. It also allows the suppliers to securely manage their own product information within the retailers' system, he said.

With the new WebSphere Product Center, suppliers and retailers can benefit from RFID in a number of ways, including supply chain visibility and product information.

Version 5.2 combines with IBM WebSphere RFID Premises Server and WebSphere RFID Device Infrastructure.

"What companies are managing with WebSphere Product Center is comprehensive information about the products they make or sell," Druker explained.

"RFID tags are very dumb; they just contain a serial number. What we are building in this new version of the product is the ability to tie those two things together. So when a tag gets read we can tell you everything about that particular case of products what it is and what it means. " IBM is also working to help retailers share their RFID information with manufacturers, so both parties recognize a return on investment from their RFID expenditures.

"The problem is that a very high percentage of the time that you go and make a purchase, the promotion items you're looking to find are not on the shelf where you want them to be seen," Druker said. "With the new system, manufacturers can see in real time exactly where their products are within the retailer."