IBM Offers App Enablement Program

IBM officials say the new program is not just another ASP model.

IBM announced Thursday a new program, part of its On Demand computing strategy, that is aimed at helping software makers adapt their applications for the Internet and sell them as services.

Big Blues Application Enablement Program is not another ASP model, officials said. Rather, the program calls for applications to be hosted in one of its 150 Global Services data centers around the world, where users are able to customize and integrate applications on an as-needed basis.

The program supplies ISVs (independent software vendors) with the technical skills to adjust their software to a hosted model.

As part of the program, IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., will work with software makers to reduce the time required to enable, test and deploy applications in a hosted format. Once the program is complete, the vendors applications can be delivered as services over the IBM network.

Initial participants in the program include Adexa Inc., Entrust Inc., MRO Software Inc. and Portal Software Inc. MRO, for example, will make its MAXIMO asset management software available as a service.

Adexa, of Los Angeles, makes software that synchronizes corporate planning with operations planning and execution. Entrust, based in Addison, Texas, provides Internet security software and services. Portal Software develops customer management and billing software for communications and content service providers. Portal is based in Cupertino, Calif.

While it is a key element of IBMs On Demand strategy, the Application Enablement program is also part of IBMs drive in two separate but related areas: to be the partner of choice to ISVs and to draw in new partners to reach the mid-market.

Earlier this week IBM announced it would pump a billion dollars into its partner strategy over the next year, with a good percentage of that cash aimed at signing partners that have a lead in the small and midsize business sector.

Those partners that complete the Application Enablement Program are also able to sign on for IBMs Infrastructure On Demand solutions announced late last month.

IBMs concept of On Demand computing was unveiled late last month by CEO Sam Palmisano, who outlined the On Demand operating environment as having four characteristics: integrated systems, open-standards software, virtualized software that allows more efficient use of IT resources, and autonomic or self-managing systems.

With an On Demand computing infrastructure—provided by IBM—the idea is that companies will have the ability to respond speedily to any customer demand, market opportunity or external threat.