May 03, 2006 17:52 ET

IBM Unveils New Master Data Management Software

Leading Global Companies Choose IBM WebSphere Product Center to Enable Their Information on Demand Strategy

ARMONK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 3, 2006 -- IBM today introduced new master data management software designed to provide clients increased flexibility and control over product information, enabling them to accelerate time-to-market and generate new business and revenue opportunities.

The newest version of IBM WebSphere Product Center provides unmatched master data management capabilities for managing product information in the retail, consumer packaged goods, consumer electronics and manufacturing industries. It offers enhanced performance and scalability and new SOA enablement features to help organizations leverage information as a service by seamlessly collecting, authoring, rationalizing and publishing product information across multiple internal systems as well as externally with trading partners.

With this announcement, IBM is extending its market leadership as retailers worldwide such as Boulanger, businessMart, CARQUEST Auto Parts and Circuit City have selected IBM WebSphere Product Center to deliver product information in multiple languages, across multiple countries and among thousands of locations.

CARQUEST Auto Parts is a leading retailer of auto parts with more than 3,400 stores. Offering more than 800,000 auto parts, the company turned to IBM WebSphere Product Center to help eliminate duplicate data among its warehouses and stores, manage and validate data coming in from suppliers, and adapt their catalog and product information according to new standards set by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association.

"WebSphere Product Center is helping CARQUEST eliminate inaccurate, incomplete and duplicate data from our parts catalog and helping us to comply with new industry standards to facilitate the exchange of information with our suppliers," said Joe Zucchero, senior vice president and CIO, CARQUEST Auto Parts. "This will allow us to improve customer service by always being able to find the right part for the right vehicle at the best possible price."

Boulanger, a major retailer of multimedia equipment and appliances in France and Spain, is using WebSphere Product Center in its SOA environment to manage and maintain information about all the products and services they offer. The software allows Boulanger to quickly publish new and updated information to multiple internal systems via their SOA, and to respond to competitors in near real-time.

"Working with IBM, our product information management system provides Boulanger comprehensive, accurate information on some 20,000 products," said Olivier Berrod, Internet/Intranet manager, Boulanger. "The system provides us new flexibility to update the product information across all business applications. For example, when we translate a product's technical features into customer benefits, it enables us to immediately publish the updated information to all our business applications, including our in-store on-the-shelf signage, which is printed daily with the latest information."

WebSphere Product Center helps companies develop and manage a central, accurate, comprehensive repository of product information. By improving and controlling how product information is organized and handled throughout an organization, companies can reduce data errors, redundant product information, and manual processes. In turn, this helps improve workload management, resolve bottlenecks, increase productivity and speed new product introductions.

"Master data management has emerged as an important way to improve information delivery in the enterprise, enabling organizations to make better decisions by providing richer, more accurate and more contextual information," said Paraic Sweeny, vice president, product information management solutions, IBM. "Organizations are using our market-leading master data management software to standardize product information used throughout their enterprise and supply chain, providing them with a competitive edge and new business flexibility."

To accelerate integration with applications across an SOA, the new version of WebSphere Product Center leverages a Java API and Web services to expose commonly used business objects and support query functions, allowing users to more quickly and easily integrate with other applications across the enterprise. This helps simplify the process of disseminating accurate product information.

WebSphere Product Center also features enhanced search capabilities, which enables clients to code searches using SQL-like queries. This new feature speeds the implementation of searches, allowing organizations to more easily retrieve the information they need.

With its enhanced product location management, WebSphere Product Center also offers support for location information and associated product information, critical for companies that have location-sensitive product information, such as vendor sourcing, terms and conditions and promotions. It also offers support for location-specific searches allowing users to quickly locate information specific to a regional or store-specific promotion, information about location-specific pricing, and information about which product assortments are being sold in a particular store.

WebSphere Product Center is currently available from IBM and IBM Business Partners. For more information WebSphere Product Center visit

About IBM

The desire by businesses to access, manage and deliver information more efficiently is driving rapid change in the IT marketplace. Companies that are grappling with new government mandates and business demands are striving to capture and integrate information in a more seamless, real-time fashion across the enterprise. IBM's information on demand approach combines deep business insight with open standards, advanced storage systems, and sophisticated software to manage and secure information as a service to create efficient, cost effective and flexible information infrastructures. Regardless of industry, IBM helps companies transform data into insight to enable information on demand. Please visit for more information.

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