IBM launches multicultural e-business suite


IBM launches multicultural e-business suite

Will Garside
IBM has launched a new e-business suite aimed at improving multicultural trade.

Will Garside

IBM has launched a new e-business suite aimed at improving multicultural trade.

The WebSphere Commerce Suite 5.1 has support for multiple currencies, languages and rules covering country specific conventions.

Kevin Doyle, marketing manager for the suite claimed that support included information on transborder shipping, localised taxation and buying regulations.

He gave the example of differences in credit card rules between the US, which only allows debits once goods have arrived, and the UK, where the debit on order processed method is preferred. Such issues, he explained, need to be considered by e-commerce vendors.

IBM claims to have generated $14.9bn (£10.2bn) from its own multicultural online Shop IBM Web sites and is one of a growing number of vendors featuring multiculturalism as a key selling point for e-commerce software.

Notable competitors include Vignette and Broadvision, which have both launched new globalisation modules for their respective e-commerce and content management applications.

The launch of the IBM suite comes as research from analyst group Jupiter predicts that three-quarters of the global Internet population will reside outside the U.S. by 2005.

The US market currently accounts for nearly 40% of the global Internet market.

Analyst, Bola Rotabi at Ovum said, "This is definitely a good move and will reduce the development time and complexity of many a web project. One question which needs to be addressed is how IBM will manage the constant changes of laws and business practices required to keep the suite updated."

IBM has yet to comment on its plans for updating the Commerce suite to cover changes in legislation.

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