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.... Rapidly changing business environments drive need for
integrated IT structures ...

Effective integration of diverse IT systems is emerging as
a major concern for business and IT managers, reveals a
global survey released today by IBM. The survey shows these
concerns are fuelled by: the need to support business
processes following merger, acquisition or divestment; and
the importance placed on electronic communications, both
internally and with external parties. In the Information
Integration survey, carried out for IBM by leading
independent research house Spikes Cavell, 86 per cent of
business managers agreed or strongly agreed that the
integration of IT systems across the enterprise would result
in improved competitive advantage. "As companies buy into
the benefits of network computing, integration of IT systems
becomes a key part of the drive to improve business
effectiveness", said Colin Osborne, IBM's Business Manager,

The phenomenal growth of IBM's MQSeries - a range of
products which enable applications to communicate with each
other using messages and queues - is an expression of the
importance that business managers now place on this issue.
Additionally, an overwhelming majority of business managers
(91 percent) and IT managers (88 per cent) felt that
electronic communication with third parties such as
customers, suppliers and business partners would be
important or very important over the next three years. The
same sentiments applied to the use of the Internet to
transact business, with 69 per cent of business managers and
74 per cent of IT managers agreeing that this would be
important or very important for their industry. Four per
cent of all Internet transmissions disappear into
cyberspace: for the growing number of companies who rely on
the Internet to do business, that s simply unacceptable,
commented Osborne. MQSeries offers guaranteed, once-only
delivery of messages and delivers the peace of mind that
successful e-commerce requires. The survey also revealed
that changes in the external business environment were
driving efforts to integrate business processes. Almost half
of all respondents (48 per cent) work for companies that had
undergone merger, acquisition or divestment in the past
year. A further 17 per cent work for organisations that had
acquired other companies.

The majority of respondents stated that these changes had
caused problems, with integration issues cited as the chief
cause. "Heterogeneity is part and parcel of information
technology: the wave of mergers and acquisitions and the
need to bring customers and business partners systems into
the fold only confirms this view", added Osborne.

The good news is that an entire industry of third party
products and services is growing up around MQSeries to help
organisations work around these problems. Even among
existing systems, multi-platform systems are a fact of life.
In the survey, 85 per cent of IT managers say that all the
information required by business users cannot be accessed
via a single system, with 73 per cent stating that this
caused them problems. In fact, 50 percent of respondents
said that the information they required was stored on more
than six systems. The key challenge for IT managers is to
deploy business applications which respond to the critical,
yet changing, requirements of their business managers, said
Graham Opie, sector director at Spikes Cavell.

- Ends -

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