IBM Jump-Starts Services

Refashions jStart development program around Web services.

When Java was the cool, new thing back in the 90s, IBMs emerging technologies SWAT team helped developers navigate the technology. Now that team, called jStart, has a new focus: Web services.

The jStart program began in 1997 as a way to bring IBM customers up to speed on Java, said David Sink, program director for emerging technologies at IBM, in Somers, N.Y.

Today, the team, which is made up of about a dozen program managers distributed worldwide, is clearing a Web services path for customers.

Photon Research Associates Inc., of Albuquerque, N.M., recently tapped the jStart team to help build a central brokerage where customers can buy PRAs satellite and aerial imagery.

PRA will have the initial roll- out for its Web services solution in the spring. IBM products in the solution will include WebSphere Studio Application Developer, WebSphere Application Server, DB2 Universal Database and MQSeries Messaging.

IBMs jStart Program

  • Evolved from SWAT team for emerging technologies
  • Started in 1997 to focus on Java development
  • Specializes in short engagements of 45 to 60 days on average
  • Seeds the developer community for IBM
  • Highlights IBMs software and developer tools
"If not for IBM, wed be doing this on a much smaller scale," said PRA Vice President Bruce Shetler. "The jStart people are facilitators, and were working directly with the development team."

Mark Fodor, who is director of e-business at Cole National Corp., in Mayfield Heights, Ohio—the parent company of Things Remembered, a retail chain of stores offering personalized gifts—said jStart experts helped get his Web services prototype off the ground, and they left his team with enough "knowledge transfer" that they will be able to undertake the next project themselves.

"We see Web services as a huge potential integration standard internal to our business, and we want to build on it and leverage our assets of people and knowledge," Fodor said. "And that jStart program helped us jump farther than I think we would have gotten if we did it on our own."