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IBM Launches New e-Commerce Initiative

In an attempt to boost its share of a market worth to almost £44 billion globally, IBM has launched an new e-commerce practice called as "Smarter Commerce", focused on retail operation integration and analytics.

Craig Hayman, the general manager of IBM Software Industry Solutions, who heads the new practice spoke on the initiative: "Through technology, consumers have gotten much more empowered than they have ever been before."

Consequently, the retail industry needs more details about how well their products and services are performing in this brutally competitive marketplace, he argued.

IBM's "Smarter Commerce" initiative ties together a number of customized IBM software products and associated services that should help retailers better engage with customers and potential customers.

For this initiative, the company has dedicated 1,200 personnel for e-commerce consulting services. It has also assembled a training program for clients and business partners.

On the software side, IBM is integrating software from a number of e-commerce tool vendors it has acquired over the past few years.

In 2010 alone, IBM spent over $2 billion acquiring e-commerce software vendors. It paid $1.4 billion for Sterling Commerce, which provides software for integrating back-end retail systems.

Also last year, IBM acquired Coremetrics, which offered a set of cloud services that analyze how well marketing campaigns worked. Finally, IBM acquired Unica, which provided marketing campaign automation software.

IBM has also revealed plans to use its own IBM's WebSphere Commerce platform for its e-commerce packages.

The combined services and software packages will address e-commerce aspects such as customer tracking, automated marketing, selling and fulfilment, and managing brands.

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