IBM moves hint at strong future for commerce products


In 2011, IBM acquired business integration specialist Sterling Commerce, adding to its Smarter Commerce platform. The move was game-changing for businesses in need of B2B integration solutions, as it offered retailers exciting new tools. Now, further corporate moves by IBM could add to companies' ability to integrate data and work closely with partners.

New moves

The latest news from IBM involves the shedding of its hardware unit. The company has decided to sell its point-of-sale hardware manufacturing arm to Toshiba. This move, however, will not limit the ability of Smarter Commerce customers to have access to the products. With the agreement, IBM also signed a partnership agreement with Toshiba, allowing the Smarter Commerce initiative to continue using the systems.

"The pace of retail expansion requires a strategy to serve this dynamic marketplace. This acquisition by Toshiba TEC creates not only the world's leading point-of-sale company, but also a key business partner for IBM in its strategically important Smarter Commerce initiative," said IBM's industry solutions general manager, Craig Hayman. "Retailers can invest with confidence in the proven abilities of these two leaders to deliver multi-channel commerce to more demanding consumers who want the same experience shopping online, in-store, mobile, social or by any other means."

Direct effects

The move's practical effects, according to IBM, include the speeding of the development process of new point-of-sale systems based on specific client needs. Chains investing in the Smarter Commerce initiative, including those with widespread overseas operations, will benefit from the increase in new product development, as well as the creation of an all-in-one hub for maintaining and planning services.

The Smarter Commerce platform, as described by its creators, is a system to infuse intelligence features into applications on the procurement, sales and customer service sides of their business. A2A integration, combining multiple products into one unified solution, is important for companies in the age of ecommerce. IBM officials emphasized that modern customers expect fast service at all times and companies' reputations can be made or broken immediately through the internet, requiring an agile network of systems that function together.

Smarter Commerce, according to Bloomberg, has been a success for IBM so far. The source stated that IBM has tapped a "gusher of data" from the effort, which is accelerating its growth. The news source stated that IBM is pursuing a software-first approach, borne out in its decision to give the hardware side of its retail business to Toshiba.