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IBM forms alliance with e-business companies

Big Blue teams with i2 Technologies, Siebel Systems and French company Dassualt Systemses to improve the process of developing a product and taking it to market.

Pushing deeper into e-business, IBM today announced an alliance with three companies to help streamline product development and other business processes.

IBM is teaming with i2 Technologies, Siebel Systems and French company Dassualt Systemses to improve product lifecycle management--the process of developing a product and taking it to market.

The companies have agreed on ways to provide companies across different industries with e-business services and products that link processes, ranging from customer relationship management (CRM) to resource planning.

The four companies making the announcement today already are involved in the sector individually but hope the alliance can build on their existing initiatives and experience.

IBM and Dassault have been in a strategic alliance since early 1998 to address the product development management market. IBM and San Mateo, Calif.-based Siebel also have an existing partnership to jointly sell and support Siebel's CRM software.

Earlier this year, IBM took an equity stake in Dallas-based i2 Technologies in an effort to expand its services and tap the growing business-to-business e-commerce sector. With the investment, IBM also formed an alliance with i2 to provide a wide range of services to companies trying to take their businesses online.

Paul Wahl The new alliance will combine and speed the delivery of compatible software, consulting and service offerings to address the needs of entire businesses, the companies said.

"This alliance will allow companies to improve their top-line revenue growth and bottom-line profitability as it will dramatically simplify the integration of key business processes around product data," Siebel president and chief operating officer Paul Wahl said. "Companies can collaborate better with their suppliers and deliver far more responsive service to their customers."

IBM is hoping to cover all its bases, from targeting budding start-ups to large enterprises.

Just yesterday, the IBM unit that focuses on Internet business unveiled a series of e-business initiatives aimed at helping start-ups get up and running quickly.