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Tivoli seals deal with Safeway U.K.

The IBM subsidiary strikes an agreement with the supermarket giant to manage store data and unveils a new tool to manage handhelds.

Tivoli Systems today cranked out new storage management products for moving data, and groceries, where they need to be.

Tivoli, a subsidiary of IBM dedicated to data management technology, sealed a deal with Safeway of the United Kingdom that will make restocking 470 stores more efficient. Tivoli also unveiled a tool for managing Palm devices and allowing the handhelds to be used to access to corporate data.

Tivoli isn't the first company offering these kinds of tools and services, but its strategy draws from the broader resources of the Armonk, N.Y.-based parent company. The storage maker is focusing on two IBM strongholds--retail and banking--as well as IBM's broader strategy of creating e-commerce systems.

The overall storage management software market will reach $3 billion in 2003, according to market researcher Dataquest. Tivoli's goal is to cash in by helping corporations harness the power of their data for furthering sales of goods and services.

"Rather than having silos of information that cannot speak with one another, we are providing an integrated solution, which gives you the B2B capabilities, the B2E capabilities and the B2C capabilities," said Israel Gat, vice president and general manager of Tivoli's pervasive management business unit.

Tivoli is positioning Will B2B's magic last?the Safeway deal as a showcase of what the technology can do. Typically, stores would restock shelves overnight based on sales data collected during the day. The storage maker is using four software products--among them, Tivoli Manager for Retail--to collect and mange data from cash registers, so stores can quickly restock shelves and evaluate which goods are selling faster.

The product set is geared toward operations needing to cull and access data at the point of sale, Gat said. Tivoli's longer-term goal is adding bank-teller machines and set-top boxes to the mix, allowing companies to harness their data for offering ancillary products and services.

One scenario would put ads with hyperlinks to Web sites on ATM screens or there provide mortgage applications and related services besides basic banking.

Tivoli also introduced Device Manager for Palm Computing Platform, which helps corporations better manage PalmOS handheld devices and more easily access network data. The company is betting the software will appeal to large businesses looking to cut costs. Gartner Group estimates companies spend $2,600 a year on every $450 handheld they buy. Better management means less reduced support cost, Gat said.

The strategy recognizes who is actually buying these devices, said Keith Ramee, Palm's worldwide director of global alliances, in a prepared statement. "We expect about 91 percent of all handheld devices to be purchased by or through corporations," he said.

Tivoli plans to add support for Windows CE in a few months, Gat said.