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IBM cuts content management entry price

Looking to expand its customer base, Big Blue focuses on ease-of-use and a cheaper starting cost.

IBM is lowering the entry-level cost of using its content management software package.

The revamped licensing policy will take effect with the release of IBM DB2 Content Manager 8.3 on March 25.

Now, in addition to a per-user fee, IBM charges for the server software. With the update, the company will be charging only a per-user fee, starting at $695 per user for a year of maintenance.

The company will charge separately on a per-user basis for different components. Document management, for example, will cost an additional $625 per user.

The change will greatly lower the entry-level cost of using the software, which used to be about $55,000, said Brett Macintyre, vice president of enterprise content management at IBM.

By lowering the price, Big Blue is hoping to grow its customer base in the fast-growing content management market and make it easier to incorporate documents into existing transactional systems, Macintyre said.

"What we need is to take the existing 45,000 (database) applications and add content to them," he said. "That way, we can go from 13,000 (IBM) customers to hundreds of thousands."

IBM competes against database companies, including Microsoft and Oracle, as well as specialized content management companies, including EMC and FileNet, he said.

Version 8.3 of IBM's content management products will focus on ease-of-use, Macintyre said. The update will allow customers to represent information using Web services protocols, which will simplify interoperability with other business applications, and include a tool, formerly called Cinnamon, to reconcile different XML document formats.

IBM has also enhanced the simulation capabilities and simplified the method for end users to register and store documents as archived records.