At the IMPACT 2009 conference, IBM today announced new products and services designed to help clients and partners build deeper relationships with their customers, increase productivity and work in a more intelligent way.

IBM’s comprehensive smarter work approach takes advantage of today’s increasingly instrumented and interconnected world. By improving collaboration between people and transforming business processes that are critical to success, organizations can become more agile and responsive to rapidly changing market conditions and better able to pursue new revenue opportunities.

Inefficient business processes and barriers to collaboration can hamper business success, especially in a challenging economic environment. According to IBM, businesses waste 5.3 hours per employee due to inefficient processes. Two-thirds of employees believe there are colleagues who can help them do their jobs better, but don’t know how to find them. In addition, 42 percent of people are forced to make decisions with the wrong information at least once per week, while 91 percent of CEOs surveyed by IBM said they needed to restructure the way their organizations work.

“Working smarter means becoming more productive and cost-efficient by taking advantage of the tools and information that can yield the greatest benefits in a competitive environment. Through the Lotus and WebSphere software portfolios, IBM is committed to bringing new collaboration and business process management capabilities to the market to better enable customers to work smarter,” said Tom Rosamilia, general manager, IBM WebSphere. “With today’s announcements, IBM is providing the tools and strategies to help our clients and partners quickly reap the benefits of increased agility.”

Since the introduction of IBM WebSphere Business Events software one year ago, IBM has focused on ways to help clients improve their processes. The acquisition of ILOG in December 2008 further enhanced IBM’s industry-leading portfolio, extending these capabilities with new business rules management systems.

As part of today’s announcement, IBM is expanding on the technologies gained through the ILOG acquisition, while also updating its existing business process management (BPM) suite of products. New products targeted at this rapidly expanding BPM market include:

* IBM WebSphere Business Events updates – Provides reduced costs by uncovering actionable situations in real time. It helps to deliver the extended enterprise infrastructure through integration with CICS and now support for z/OS.

* Business Architecture Services – Aligns business and IT goals through a structured delivery process that is designed to connect an enterprise’s business model with its technology models.

* New BPM feature packs with enhanced capabilities for business leaders, business professionals, and IT administrators, providing new ways to link strategy to execution and greater task management for faster business returns.

* Enhancements to products from the ILOG acquisition include an upgrade to IBM WebSphere ILOG JRules; new features for IBM ILOG Optimization Decision Management Enterprise; and enhancements to the ILOG supply chain management portfolio.

* New Key Agility Indicators (KAIs) – All 300 KAIs have been updated on the IBM Benchmark Wizard, reflecting the latest industry and economic data.

In order to be effective, business processes have to connect to a wide range of systems and people in a variety of ways, efficiently orchestrating process activities as they flow between these entities. The IBM WebSphere middleware and IBM Lotus collaboration software support the orchestration of these complex business activities by helping to ensure process performance and integrity. Today IBM is enhancing those technologies from its WebSphere, Lotus and other IBM business groups, including:

* IBM WebSphere eXtreme Scale – Enhanced with REST accessibility, and improved reporting, monitoring and ease of use.

* IBM WebSphere MQ Low Latency Messaging – Featuring enhanced high availability features, and expanded platform support.

* IBM Rational toolkit for reuse and service enablement – To cut costs, increase agility and reduce risk by leveraging existing enterprise assets in new SOA solutions; and updated IBM Enterprise Modernization Sandboxes for evaluating SOA reuse for the System z and IBM i platforms.

* CICS platform – Additional capabilities for events processing and Web 2.0; Rational developer support for CICS Transaction Server v4; and a new community, CICS Hub on the Rational Cafe for COBOL.

* New SOA Infrastructure Healthchecks from IBM Global Technology Services that will help clients identify new opportunities to optimize SOA investments and reduce costs.

* New Lotus offerings on the Blackberry – Helping to make real-time communications the norm with enhancements for IBM Lotus Connections, IBM Lotus Sametime and IBM LotusLive Meetings.

As part of today’s announcement, IBM will also add two new industry solutions and frameworks to its industry leading portfolio. Industry frameworks provide a software platform to accelerate deployment of business solutions. They extend IBM’s SOA middleware with industry-specific capabilities and specially designed process templates. IBM industry solutions build on the value provided by these industry frameworks with the addition of IBM and IBM Business Partner professional services helping to deliver a unique, end-to-end solution for each client.

These Frameworks contribute another essential element of a smarter work environment by providing a level of collaboration that will allow people to easily work together with greater speed and in cost-effective ways, helping them discover, apply and preserve expertise. For example, utilizing IBM’s Healthcare Integration Framework, clients are able to speed their clinical decision-making by comparing vast amounts of patient and treatment data for specific diseases and then providing medical professionals and researchers with actionable results to their queries within a matter of seconds.

IBM is also announcing enhancements to Lotus Live and its Click to Cloud capabilities. This cloud-delivered, software as a service (SaaS) offering provides unique features including Web conferencing, file storing and sharing, contact management, live chat, and business forms integrated with a business network. These enhancements build on other Cloud-enabled offerings, including:

* IBM WebSphere Cloudburst – This “plug and play” appliance manages the full lifecycle of WebSphere Application Server (WAS) virtual images and customer environments, enabling creation of content, scheduling, health management, capacity and usage management, and storage.

* New Implementation Services for cloud computing from IBM Global Technology Services will support Cloudburst to help clients deploy WAS virtual provisioning for private test clouds.

* Rational Build Forge with Rational Automation Framework for WebSphere (including CloudBurst). It provides more than 300 field-proven automated tasks for configuration and application deployment to WAS, and removes manual/complex tasks when managing WebSphere environments and solutions deployed to them.

* BPM BlueWorks, a cloud-based set of strategy and business process tools. BPM BlueWorks provides business users with the collateral they need to implement business strategies within their organizations based on industry-proven business process management techniques.