IBM to Pump $1B into SMB Programs

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2004-03-03 Print this article Print

IBM Corp. has pulled out all the stops to make it easier for ISVs and business partners to work with the systems giant to take on Microsoft Corp., both in large, but more importantly, small and medium-size (SMB) markets, the company said.

LAS VEGAS—IBM Corp. has pulled out all the stops to make it easier for independent software vendors (ISV) and business partners to work with the systems giant to take on Microsoft Corp., both in large, but more importantly, small and medium-size (SMB) markets, the company said. Speaking at the IBM PartnerWorld conference here Tuesday, Buell Duncan, general manager of IBM ISV and developer relations, said, "In 2004 we will invest $1 billion in working with our ISV partners." Key to that investment will be the new PartnerWorld Industry Networks for ISVs program, which realigns other IBM ISV programs to better enable the companys ISV partners to go after business industry-by-industry.
Under the program, IBM is delivering Web-based communities that will facilitate the development of industry-specific solutions, Duncan said. The first six industries covered are: banking, financial markets, healthcare, life sciences, retail and communications, Duncan said.
"Well announce another five in the middle of this year and another five after that," Duncan said. "Each industry has a specific architecture optimized for their industrys needs." Mark Greene, general manager of IBMs global banking industry, said the banking segment is the largest for IBM and his organization aligned its sales along vertical lines just to take on this large and important market. Greene said IBMs product teams have responded with tools, like "WebSphere Portal Server for Banks and WebSphere adapters for different things banks worry about. We made tailored solutions unique in banking." IBM also announced its ISV Advantage program for Industries, which is slated to help ISVs adopt IBMs on demand solutions and generate more business through alliances with IBM. In addition, IBM has delivered new solutions to assist ISVs in these vertical markets; these solutions contain components of middleware from all five of IBMs software brands: WebSphere, DB2, Tivoli, Lotus and Rational, the company said. Meanwhile, Scott Hebner, IBMs vice president of ISV and developer relations strategy, said IBM is launching an Orchestration and Provisioning Automation Library (OPAL) to help companies automate their business processes and help ISVs build management workflows for inclusion in their solutions. The OPAL initiative includes an online catalog of resources, a workflow resource kit and software development support. Check out eWEEK.coms Enterprise Applications Center at for the latest news, reviews, analysis and opinion about productivity and business solutions. "IBM already put 100 workflows into the catalog," Hebner said. ISVs represent the fastest growing segment of the IBM business partner world, and the SMB space is fastest growing among that, company officials said. Mark Lautenbach, IBMs general manager of global small and medium business, said the SMB market is driven by solutions and in that vein IBM made three announcements aimed at helping ISVs deliver solutions to the SMB market. Even before any technology announcements, however, Lautenbach said IBM has made a $500 million investment in demand generation, education, teaming, sales incentives and enablement for SMB business partners. In addition, IBM introduced an Integrated Runtime that provides a stack of pre-configured IBM middleware— primarily IBMs Express products— which ISVs can include in its solutions, Lautenbach said. IBM also announced a Migration Station to help Microsoft-based ISVs to migrate their solutions to IBM-based environments, Lautenbach said. And IBM announced Solution Builder Express, an effort to help ISVs build solutions based on IBMs Express technologies, he said.
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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