IBM Developer Cloud Gets a Power Boost
"As the world is being transformed by cloud, mobile, social, big data and analytics, we need to enable our Business Partners to transform with it so they can take full advantages of the opportunities these changes bring," said Tom Rosamilia, senior vice president of the IBM Systems & Technology Group and Integrated Supply Chain, in a statement. "Our goal is to provide our Business Partners with the broadest set of capabilities, programs, incentives and solutions in the industry, allowing them to move to higher-value opportunities and achieve greater success." Business partners are crucial to IBM's success. Indeed, at the PartnerWorld conference, IBM CEO Ginny Rometty said partners account for 20 percent of IBM's revenues—and 30 percent of IBM's software revenues. The PDP joins other cloud-based development programs from IBM. In November, IBM announced it was opening up its Watson cognitive computing technology to developers by providing access to Watson as a development platform in the cloud. "This is a day we've been looking forward to—opening the power of Watson to the innovators of the world," said John Gordon, vice president of IBM's Watson solutions division. "People can use Watson's deep insight to transform all of us across the planet. This will be a major competitive advantage for folks."In short, IBM will deliver a cloud-based marketplace, a "sandbox" of resources for developing Watson-powered apps. This includes a developer toolkit, educational materials and access to Watson's APIs, as well as IBM subject matter experts and a network of third-party experts, designers, coders and providers of data-rich content. IBM recently announced its first VC investment from the Watson Group. Welltok, developer of the CaféWell Health Optimization Platform, announced it has raised $22.1 million in Series C funding led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA), with new participation from IBM and Qualcomm, through its venture capital arm, Qualcomm Ventures' life fund portfolio. IBM's first direct investment from its recently formed Watson Group supports the company's partnership with Welltok to build CaféWell Concierge, a new application infused with Watson's cognitive computing capabilities. Welltok's app will call upon Watson's ability to uncover insights from big data by understanding the complexities of human language, reading millions of pages of data within seconds and improving its own performance by learning.
Gordon said IBM will provide multiple components to help developers take advantage of Watson. One will be a platform for the ecosystem to build applications on, including the Watson development cloud. IBM also will provide a Watson content store, which will serve as a channel for developers to bring their Watson-based solutions to market. In addition, IBM will team with a set of talent partners to help developers who require assistance with the Watson technology. And Big Blue will wield its influence with the venture capital (VC) community to help new entrepreneurs get started building off of the Watson technology, Gordon said.