IBM Makes SMB Push with iSeries Partner Program

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2005-02-25

IBM is making an aggressive push to grow the presence of its iSeries servers in the midmarket.

With its new iSeries Initiative for Innovation program, announced Thursday, the Armonk, N.Y., company is targeting customers and software makers by offering some 2,500 ISVs and developers an average of $50,000 in services to create offerings to iSeries customers.

The services include access to IBM experts in Rochester, Minn., and opening five global centers that software developers can use to help develop their solutions, according to IBM officials. IBM also will offer marketing and educational help.

IBM sees the SMB (small and midsize business) market as a key to its plans going forward. Analyst firm IDC estimates that the midmarket accounted for about 26 percent of the overall $49 billion server market last year, and IBM said SMBs represented more than 20 percent of its overall server revenue in 2003 and 2004.

IBM has been making strides in the server market. IDC and Gartner Inc. this week said that the company not only remained on top in server revenue for 2004, but also became the top Unix server vendor. Over the past year, IBM has outfitted both its p- and iSeries systems with the Power5 processor, but while the pSeries has grown, the iSeries has struggled. In the fourth quarter of 2004, it lost revenue due in large part to the transition to Power5 and the i5 operating system, the latest version of what used to be called OS/400, officials said.

Click here to read about IBMs push into the low-end Unix space.

Growing the support among software developers—for such technology as Web services, portals and RFID (radio-frequency identification)—is a key initiative in gaining support for the iSeries, officials said. It follows efforts already underway at IBM, which has added 800 offerings to its iSeries portfolio.

Among the resources IBM will offer is free support to software makers through its Application Innovation Program and tool kits to further push development.

Regarding marketing help, IBM will discount by up to 70 percent co-advertising in more than 200 industry publications, and IBM will also increase its own national advertising.

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