IBM tailors software solutions to government

IBM Corp. is putting a government spin on its enterprise software products. The Armonk, N.Y.-based company today announced a series of solutions that it said could help agencies reduce costs and improve service to constituents.

IBM's Middleware Solutions for Government are built around the company's products including its WebSphere e-business platform, DB2 information management software and Lotus family of collaboration products. They are stitched together to make it easy for agencies to deploy and re-use applications.

They may also include government-specific software adapters and programs from IBM and its software partners, such as Adobe Systems.

"These are intended to be services-led offerings to get customers started more quickly," said Wayne Janzen, IBM's global government segment manager. "We're looking to provide a higher level of integration from which to build custom solutions, rather than building from scratch."

Janzen said IBM's new government solutions would include reference architectures, which are proven system designs that have been used in other government agencies. They are intended to be leveraged by the company's integrator partners as repeatable, quick-to-deploy solutions, he added.

In March, Siebel Systems Inc. of San Mateo, Calif., made a similar move when it introduced six public sector solutions built around the company's core customer relationship management products and based on successful government implementations. The company said agencies had grown more interested in how products could solve problems than in the products themselves.

IBM's new solutions address a range of government initiatives, from providing better service to the citizen, to improving communication among first responders. Specifically, the solutions fall into five general areas: citizen access (e-government), employee self-service, document management, collaboration and integration, and public safety communications.

IBM's Middleware Solution for Government Access is based largely on successful deployments in Canada. In February, officials of Windsor-Essex County in southwestern Ontario launched a citizen portal using IBM technology after seeing a similar prototype developed for the municipality of Cornwall, Ontario.

Francis Loughheed, of Loughheed and Associates, an IBM business partner, oversaw the project and said by using a tested and integrated solution, Windsor-Essex was able to get its portal up and running in just eight months.

Judi Zito, chief information officer of Miami Dade County, said IBM middleware solutions have helped her organization deploy new services quickly and inexpensively.

"A major part of this efficiency derives from the framework's ability to create common elements and reuse them to build other services," Zito said.

With 2003 revenues of $89.1 billion, IBM ranked No. 18 on Washington Technology's 2003 Top 100 list, which measures federal contracting revenue. Washington Technology's 2004 rankings are due out in May.

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