Trying to keep pace with the evolving service provider industry, IBM this week will announce the expansion of its ASP Prime project into the wider-ranging XSP Prime program.
The ASP Prime program, which began in the spring last year and requires that participants later buy IBM products, teams application service providers and ISVs with IBM experts in architecture, management, marketing, provisioning and strategy. Beginning this week and expanding throughout the rest of the year, the program will be open to other kinds of service providers, including those offering hosting, IT management, storage and security. IBM plans to make the programs business design workshop and financial modeling tools available to the other kinds of service providers by the end of this year. The technical strategy workshop is available to providers now.
By early next year, IBM will expand the hands-on technology options at its solution centers, located in four domestic and six international locations.
For Eden Communications Inc., a Saratoga Springs, N.Y., maker of project management, help desk and sales management software, ASP Prime is a useful venture. The time spent on-site with IBM, said Vice President Constantine Photopoulos, "was two weeks of some pretty intensive work."
"At first, I thought that I couldnt spare two weeks of having someone out of the office," Photopoulos said. "I thought I knew a lot about the ASP market. Theres so much to learn that you cant even imagine before you go in." Eden chose to buy IBM servers and Lotus Development Corp.s Domino. Eden will buy hosting space from another program graduate, Photopoulos said.
IBM could improve the service-level agreement education of the process and devote more time to business issues while compressing the technology education, Photopoulos said.
Jill Kanatzar, program director for IBM, agreed. XSP Prime will have more of a business focus, will refer program graduates to other IBM consulting arms and will have more alliances with companies such as Citrix Systems Inc., of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said Kanatzar, in Austin, Texas.
XSP Prime doesnt have an official minimum spending requirement for IBM hardware, software or services, but "a good rule of thumb is about a million a year," she said.
About 300 companies have completed the ASP Prime program. The process begins with a questionnaire; early participants interviewed by eWeek last year complained that the questionnaire was too focused on marketing.