IBM launches enterprise Web experience suite

IBM launched a suite of software for enterprises looking to reach customers through multiple Web channels ranging from a browser to mobile applications

IBM on Thursday launched a suite of software for enterprises looking to reach customers through multiple Web channels ranging from a browser to mobile applications.

The suite, dubbed the IBM Customer Experience Suite, features everything from mashup creation to content management to portlets to social media to e-commerce to analytics, mostly via Big Blue's recent acquisition of CoreMetrics. Some of the parts---content management for instance---have been in the field. IBM is pulling these various features together in one suite and then adding predictive analytics, which were also acquired via SPSS and Coremetrics, as an overlay.

IBM Larry Bowden, vice president of IBM Portals and Web Experience Software, said the company's primary targets for the suite are large enterprises. The suite will go on sale Thursday. Banking, retailers and governments are the biggest customers this type of Web software, said Bowden. Indeed, the suite isn't cheap. Specifically, the Customer Experience Suite has an initial license and first year maintenance/support cost of about $193,000 per processor. While that sounds like a lot, Bowden notes that whole counties can run on $193,000 a year with smaller maintenance and support costs in following years.

Larger companies, say a retailer like Wal-Mart, would have Web-facing CPUs ranging from 50 to 100. Conditions and requirements would vary, but Bowden noted that half of IBM's content management customers would fall in the 1 CPU range. The promise here is that the Customer Experience Suite would eliminate integration pain points and drive online sales leads. Some of the parts from the suite were on display at the U.S. Open, where the U.S. Tennis Association was able to offer interactive Web features, analytics and e-commerce to its audience.

Customers like the USTA and Lufthansa will be on display at an IBM event being held in midtown Manhattan.

Via analytics, the suite promises to tailor customer specific messaging down to location, preferences and behavior. In addition, major mobile platforms such as Apple's iPhone are also supported out of the box. Bowden argued that IBM's software could dynamically generate Web pages based on behavior and preferences.

Big Blue has increasingly become focused on Web analytics, mobile apps and e-commerce. And it has put its money behind the effort via the acquisitions of Sterling Commerce, Unica, Coremetrics and a $100 million research investment.