A strategy for the SMB market would not be complete without support for Microsoft Corp.s tools, which also play in that environment. To that end, IBM is working on integration between Microsofts Visual Studio integrated development environment and DB2, Perna said. Last week at the VSLive New York conference, Bob Picciano, IBM director of database technology, said IBM "wanted to extend Visual Studio .Net to be a premier application development environment for DB2."Customers, partners and other observers are happy IBM is paying so much attention to the little guy. Blair Hankins, chief technology officer at Ascendant Technology Inc., in Austin, Texas, said the IBM SMB strategy has already paid off for his company, which uses the WebSphere Portal Express solution, and has saved time and money in installations. One particular installation "has served as a driver for significant additional business" for Ascendant, Hankins said.
David Moskowitz, president of Productivity Solutions Inc., of Bala Cynwyd, Pa., said he thinks IBMs SMB initiative will benefit partners. "Given that they are protecting channel customers, we believe it will be helpful," Moskowitz said.
"I think they can be successful in specific sectors of the SMB market," said Stephen OGrady, an analyst with RedMonk LLC, a market research company in Hollis, N.H. "DB2 Express, for example, represents a very viable alternative as an embedded database for ISVs in need of that type of solution.
"However, IBM faces some critical questions around its SMB messaging," OGrady said. "Tivoli, for example, is likely to have a very different definition of what an SMB customer is than, say, [IBMs] Lotus [Software division]. As IBM goes to market with SMB customers, theyll be battling not only the perception that they are just for big business, but their own messaging to customers must be clear and targeted as well."
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Leon Katsnelson, senior product manager for DB2 at IBM, who demonstrated the use of Visual Studio in a DB2 environment, told conference attendees that "the most important constituent of the DB2 family is you, the Visual Studio .Net developer."