IBM has announced that it will be providing new social media tools, education programs and other marketing resources to help its service-oriented architecture business partners generate leads and drive sales.
These programs will be officially unveiled at the company's Impact 2009 conference in May.
The new package includes Web-based resources such as virtual tradeshows, logo advertising, scheduled chat sessions and new scenarios in IBM's serious game Innov8 to help partners present their solutions to customers using real-world scenarios. IBM is also introducing SOAsocial - the first social network for the SOA community, the company said. To ensure partners reap the rewards of their new efforts, IBM will also provide search engine optimization training.
The announcement is designed to open new markets for the channel and help partners compete more effectively in the global environment.
The programs IBM will deliver feature nine new social media tools, including Virtual Forum, a virtual trade show complete with product booths, logo advertising and scheduled chat sessions to help partners drive lead opportunities. IBM partners such as Sirius Computer Solutions have already taken advantage of this by participating with clients in a successful early demonstration of the Virtual Forum.
With so much invested in the SOA space, it is clear IBM does not adhere to the notion that "SOA is dead." Indeed, IBM officials said the company has more than 7,000 customer implementations worldwide and IBM is a leader in the SOA market. This leadership in SOA is further illustrated by a thriving community of greater than 120,000 architects and developers, 300 SOA-specific technology patents, 2,000 universities advancing the SOA curriculum, and 7,420 Business Partners building SOA skills, solutions and practices, IBM officials said.
The social media aspect of the announcement includes new Marketing 2.0 benefits, providing a variety of Web-based resources that partners can use to generate demand, progress opportunities and strengthen their overall marketing strategy. IBM officials said they believe this is critical as recent statistics have shown that search referrals, spurred by Internet marketing and social media tactics, are now driving 34 percent of Web traffic and the average cost of Internet marketing is only 50 cents per lead as compared with traditional marketing, which is more than $9 per lead.
An example of one of the ways IBM is tapping into Marketing 2.0 is WebCollage. IBM has teamed with WebCollage to provide partners with Web syndication, a simple way to augment their Websites with all of the tools needed to help partners generate leads and drive sales, IBM said.