INTERNET WORLD: IBM Forges E-Commerce Links

IBM Corp. said today that it is increasing online transaction options and will offer payment gateway facilities for European financial institutions.

The announcement made at Internet World in Chicago included details of 11 agreements with business partners using IBM's electronic commerce products.

The announcements hold with the IBM notion that e-commerce is more than just buying goods online, but involves a complete cycle from the transaction to the payment to customer service after the sale, said Karl Salnoske, general manager of the IBM Electronic Commerce Group, at a teleconference conducted from the trade show at the McCormick Place convention center.

To complete the cycle online merchants "don't just need a catalog and a shopping cart," but a full range of products that integrate with existing computer systems used throughout the business, he said.

These were among today's announcements:

-- IBM is working with Danish Payment Systems (PBS) to provide certificate processing and payment gateway facilities for European financial institutions that want to use the SET (Secure Electronic Transaction) protocol for credit card payments made over the Internet.

-- North American merchants will have additional ways to process credit card orders through an agreement between IBM and CyberCash Inc.'s IC Verify unit under which the companies will create a NetVerify payment cassette for the next release of IBM's payment server, due out in August.

The partnership means that consumers will be able to make transactions using a variety of payment options, including credit cards and "wallets," and that online merchants will be able to accept payment using SET and SSL (secure sockets layer) as security mechanisms, said Karen Tate, CyberCash's vice president for Internet Services.

Salnoske maintained that the deal should push SET forward into greater use, allowing banks to be ready as merchant demand increases for payment options that are SET-enabled.

Meanwhile, a range of business partners have signed on to use IBM's Net.Commerce software in their own products or services. They include the following:

-- Business Evolution Inc. (BEI), which develops real-time World Wide Web-based customer service software, will allow merchants who purchase IBM Net.Commerce, which enables secure online transactions, to implement BEI software into Web sites. BEI technology filters site queries and routes them for live messaging or to e-mail queues so that questions can be answered promptly.

-- CommercialWare's Mozart software will work with Net.Commerce and other IBM middleware products, including MQ Series, Lotus Notes and Domino, to enable direct marketing companies to beef up customer service.

-- Fisher Technology Group, with whom IBM has an existing partnership, will enable four of its applications to work with the Net.Commerce merchant server.

-- Garg Data International Inc.'s integrated product set for Web publishing will be compatible with IBM e-commerce software, providing Internet database management, advertisement placement and tracking capabilities.

-- IMPAC Technology Inc. is creating an application designed with Net.Commerce for Web site and online catalog creation, hosting, call-center services and warehouse and fulfillment capabilities for small and medium-sized businesses.

-- Industri-Matematik International Corp. is combining its supply chain management software with Net.Commerce to allow companies to create e-commerce software that works with Web merchant sites to manage high-volume orders.

-- Intelligent Interactions will use Net.Commerce with its dbCommerce database-targeting engine that takes data from various online and off-line sources to create a customized catalog for consumers who visit online stores.

-- Narrative Communications Corp. will make its interactive advertising software compatible with IBM software to enable secure transaction payment processing and order confirmation.

-- Net Perceptions Inc.'s software will work with IBM software to allow businesses to provide real-time personalized product or content recommendations to consumers.

-- NetGravity Inc. has several software products that will interoperate with the Net.Commerce merchant server creating an online marketing system.

-- PersonaLogic Inc. will provide customers a secure system for processing credit card transactions using Net.Commerce.

Finally, IBM also announced today that it will work with Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, Ameritech Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. to establish an Advanced Center for Internet Research at the university. The Center will open in late 1998 and will work on advanced application design, new network services, and network performance, according to a statement. Joe Mambretti, who will continue his role as the director of the Metropolitan Research and Education Network (MREN), will be director of the center, joining in August.