IBM put another piece of its integration strategy in place for SMEs, unveiling a WebSphere-based server that helps users integrate both business processes and people better.
The WebSphere Business Integration Server Express is designed to make it easier for SMEs to piece together their IT systems, business processes and applications.
IBM also introduced two vertical Express-based solutions for SMEs for the electronics and life science industries, which help users in those fields better collaborate with their customers as well as manage supplier procurement and general ledger functions.
IBM officials said they believed business process integration remains one of the toughest items to knock off SMEs' wish lists.
Through its own research, IBM said a little over 75% of midsized companies operated in heterogeneous hardware and software environments at a time when industry standards, supplier IT mandates, and an increasing number of government regulations are demanding higher levels of inside-out integration.
Because the offering is intended for both SMEs and the business providers which help them piece solutions together, it comes packaged with customisable adapters and prepackaged processes which can serve to tie users existing IT environments. Included are adapters for existing CRM and ERP packages, web-enabled product catalogues and e-commerce sites.
"It is built both for SMEs and for partners too, so [partners] can deliver value into a given market. Partners have to be a critical part of our strategy if we are to gain entry into a number of SME markets," Cosby said.
"The product [WebSphere Business Integration Server Express] looks like it provides almost immediate back-end integration, right out of the box," said Brian Hall, practice leader for business integration and workflow at Gemini Systems, a regional systems integrator.
"The adapters provided give us some flexibility to create our own, which gives us a better chance at giving the customer what they need," he said.
The latest offering puts in place perhaps the last piece for IBM's Express-based integration strategy. The latest version works in concert with IBM's existing products including the WebSphere Business Integration Express for Item Synchronisation, WebSphere Business Integration Connect Express and WebSphere MQ Express.
WebSphere Business Integration Server Express already works with three operating environments including Windows, Linux and IBM's iSeries of mid-range systems.
Carrying a price tag of $6,000 (£3,338) per processor, the product is scheduled to be widely available on 14 May.
Ed Scannell writes for Infoworld