By adopting open source technologies into application development, companies can more quickly adapt to rapidly changing Web technologies and business priorities, such as Web services, IBM said.
"The complexity of building e-business applications has increased recently and the advent of Web services - the next big thing - will only increase this," said Henrik Hedeggard, head of the application and integration middleware division at IBM.
IBM's Java-based open source software, code-named Eclipse, will enable developers to use software tools from multiple suppliers at the same time, allowing them to integrate business processes used to create e-business applications and Web services, IBM said.
IT suppliers are promoting Web services to help businesses build their in-house IT systems and online applications to customers and suppliers. Both Microsoft and Sun Microsystems have outlined strategies for this area, with their respective .net and Sun Open Net Environment platforms.
IBM believes its open source approach to software for Web services will offer more to businesses than the "locked in" approach of .net.
Gary Barnett, an analyst at Ovum, said that while companies need to decide which underlying structure their
e-business applications should be based on - Java or .net - they do not have to be locked into one platform.
"Smart organisations can have their cake and eat it," he said. "They have to commit to a platform but if the software is designed in a smart way it can interoperate."