IBM has introduced a spruced-up version of its WebSphere Commerce Server that for the first time allows users to operate both B2C and B2B websites from the same software platform.
WebSphere Commerce Professional Edition 5.5 makes it possible for corporate administrators to manage multiple e-commerce sites spread around the world from a single location, which would cut down significantly on administrative and management costs.
"We think this is an important release because it addresses the more critical issues businesses have to deal with as they try to drive more revenues from their e-commerce sites, while at the same time trying to make it less expensive to manage," said Martin Wildberger, a vice-president in charge of WebSphere Commerce at IBM.
"We think users can see a quicker return on investment because it streamlines business processes," he added.
Company officials also think the enhanced version can help companies deal more efficiently with their users and business partners in terms of meeting each other's individual requirements.
Users can create tailored relationships more easily with each business partner that could allow them, for instance, to offer pre-negotiated pricing discounts and volume quantities without the need to get a salesperson involved in an online transaction.
This capability, according to Wildberger, allows channel partners to place an online order faster while cutting down on the financial overhead of managing the transactions.
End-user organisations can also get more out of the order management capabilities by filling orders from multiple partners based on which channel has the right product and quantity to meet the customer's needs, he said.
The product also contains analytics capable of automatically spotting online buying trends and then issue alerts so that users can take advantage of such trends by offering relevant discounts or promotions.
Additionally, the latest version has built-in support for web services, allowing organisations to integrate with key business processes across the breadth of a supply chain.
The entry-level Version 5.5 will be available on 30 June. Price of $80,000 (£45,586) per processor.
The WebSphere Commerce Business Edition 5.5, for large, high-volume B2B e-commerce applications, which includes account and contract management capability and advanced business and security control, will cost from $125,000 (£74,354) per processor.
Ed Scannell writes for InfoWorld