Virtual mentoring classes will help developers in emerging markets build open solutions that are compatible with IBM platforms.
IBM is moving to capitalize on the huge growth in software development in a number of key emerging markets by helping ISVs and developers build solutions based on open standards that are compatible with IBMs hardware and software platforms.
Big Blue on Monday will announce a mentoring initiative to help startup companies in China, India, Russia and Brazil more easily develop solutions based on open standards technology by giving their developers instant access to IBM hardware and software, right from their desktops.
Mark Hanny, IBMs vice president of ISV and developer relations for emerging markets, told eWEEK in an interview that more than 400 developers a day joined IBMs developer networks in emerging markets last year.
"This equates to about 17 new developers signing up every hour. In response to this, we are deploying a series of virtual mentoring classes that will allow developers to integrate their applications with IBM technologies through virtual resources," he said.
As such, IBM will roll out more than 40 different virtual enablement workshops through the IBM Virtual Innovation Center. As a result, application development companies in those emerging markets will now be able to gain access to a host of virtual workshops through Web conferences from their personal computers.
Students can attend classes from their home, office or even local coffee shop by dialing into a lecture via phone or VOIP (voice over IP), he said. Before each class, IBM will configure a customized remote environment for students so they can follow the lecture and participate in virtual learning labs, Hanny said.
The instructor will remain accessible via telephone, e-mail and instant messaging to support students through each stage of enablement.
The virtual workshops will cover a wide range of topics, including classes to jump-start software development on IBM WebSphere Application Server, Advanced Portal technology and IBM Express middleware.
Lawson Software supports WebSphere. Click here to read more.
"Through this initiative, we at IBM are paving the way for thousands of ISVs to pursue virtual enablement so that they can go to market with their solutions faster," Hanny said, adding that IBM has already received interest in virtual workshops from ISVs in Brazil, India and China.
Asked why IBM is looking at emerging markets so aggressively, Hanny said these markets are growing far more rapidly than the U.S. and Western European markets. "IBMs revenue grew by more than 25 percent in these markets last quarter," he said.
"Businesses in these markets are now buying business solutions, many of them for the first time, and that is fuelling the growth. They are also moving from a PC market to a solutions-driven one, and this brings huge opportunities for them and us in their home markets," he said.
That optimism is borne out by research from IDC, with a recent study saying that China and India will experience the highest growth in professional software developers by 2008, with compound annual growth rates of 25.6 percent and 24.5 percent, respectively.
IDC also forecasts that the total number of professional developers, many of whom will be building solutions on open standards technology, will reach nearly 15 million in 2008, Hanny told eWEEK.
IBM will also announce on Monday that it has formed a new Venture Capital Advisory Council, which will work with IBM to accelerate innovation around the deployment of open standards-based solutions, particularly in emerging markets.
The council will also provide feedback on how IBM can continue to identify new partnership opportunities and help evolve its partner programs to best assist the hundreds of innovative startup companies arising out of these countries daily.
IBM pledges to spend an additional $100 million to aid partners. Click here to read more.
The Venture Capital Advisory Council will meet throughout the year to review opportunities for startups in IBMs partner programs, and initial council members include Accel Partners; Darby Overseas Investments Ltd.; Draper, Fisher and Jurvetson; Hummer Windblad Venture Partners; U.S. Venture Partners; and Walden International.
"IBM does not want to be a venture capitalist itself, but we do recognize that these firms can play a great role in helping early-stage startups that may not know about our technologies work with IBM. These companies have already introduced more than 850 ISVs to us," Hanny said.
Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.
He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.
He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.
He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.
He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.
He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.
His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.
For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.