IBM Expands E-Business Center Overseas

IBM’s Global Services division announced yesterday that it is expanding the e-business innovation center it built in Atlanta, Georgia four years ago by building a network of facilities throughout the U.S. and Europe.

The $81 billion (US$) computer giant said it has opened centers in Chicago, Dallas and Washington, D.C. and has more planned for New York, Los Angeles and Boston in the next six months. The company also plans to open centers in the United Kingdom and Germany, with others to follow in France and Italy.

The e-business centers cluster together business strategists, interactive designers, applications developers and systems integration specialists. The Atlanta center opened in 1995 and has since grown to employ 400 professionals.

“Businesses today want to take e-commerce to the next level,” said Doug Elix, IBM Senior Vice President for Global Services. “They’re looking for ways to strengthen customer relationships by exploiting real-time business intelligence and optimizing their supply chains to speed fulfillment. These centers provide a place for customers to work collaboratively with industry experts.”

The company also announced that it has signed AnswerThink, Coleman Group Worldwide, OglivyOne, RGA Interactive, DoubleClick, net.Genesis and Net Perceptions as alliance partners. Others are slated to follow soon.

Mastering The E-Commerce Learning Curve

Big Blue has long shrugged off critics who said it is inflexible and too big to change. The Armonk, New York-based company has embraced the Internet and quietly gone out and fashioned together an umbrella that encompasses a whole host of products and services.

For example, IBM’s Global Services division now ranks as the company’s number-two money-making division, trailing only the hardware division. It has signed major deals with Cisco Systems, Dell Computer Corp., Allied Signal and others in recent months. IBM says it expects to generate some $10 to $15 billion in e-commerce revenue this year alone.

The company said that its embrace of the Internet has not only generated new streams of revenue, but has saved it a significant amount of money as well.

The company claims to have saved $240 million this year though its e-procurement process with suppliers, $625 million in processing 29 million online customer service transactions, and an additional $100 million through its Web-based employee training for its 291,000 employees.

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