IBM Tools Up Partnerships at Vegas Show

IBM Partnerworld is the launch pad for e-hosting services, SMB sales incentives and training efforts aimed at addressing the loss of jobs to offshore outsourcing.

LAS VEGAS—IBM Corp. announced a host of new programs to bolster its relationships with its partners, including new e-hosting services, at this weeks Partnerworld 2004 conference here.

IBM launched new small- and medium-business (SMB) sales incentives for resellers, including new managed hosting services based on the IBM iSeries of servers and the expansion of a program that the company said enables independent software vendors to deliver software as a service.

The Managed Hosting, Infrastructure Solutions with Server Management, Entry offering allows resellers access to the same managed hosting capabilities that IBMs top clients receive, IBM said.

In addition, during his keynote speech Monday, IBM Chairman, President and CEO Sam Palmisano rolled out the companys $25 million Human Capital Alliance, which will help train people for new jobs, particularly in areas where positions are being phased out or are at risk of being phased out.

"This is fundamentally important," Palmisano said. "If we can invest in our people," IBM and the industry at large will be stronger, he said.

"Were going to put aside $25 million and were going to train people," Palmisano said. "Were talking about retraining people for future jobs. We think its very important to participate in multiple dimensions."

Indicating that much of the displacement in the industry is coming from jobs moving offshore, Palmisano said: "I dont think its appropriate to wish ill will on countries that are just trying to enhance the standard of living for their people."

Therefore, IBM is moving to enhance the skill levels and standards of its people.

Meanwhile, the IBM Application Enablement Program will help ISVs provide their applications as on-demand services, IBM officials said. IBM Global Services will host the applications at its data centers, and partners will be able to take advantage of IBMs on-demand technologies, such as grid computing, Universal Management Structure and Web services for delivering their solutions, the company said.

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IBM also announced the launch of its Innovation Centers Initiative to help not only recruit partners but assistthem with demand generation and enablement. IBM listed three types of Innovation Centers: IBM Business partner Innovation Centers, which are operated by IBM business partners; IBM Innovation Centers, which are operated by IBM; and the IBM Virtual Innovation Center, an online knowledge portal, the company said.

IBM also added new demand-enablement tools, including sales tools, marketing support, training and solution integration, the company said.

And the company announced new middleware solutions for partners in healthcare, life sciences, retail and telecommunications, said Buell Duncan, IBM general manager of ISV and developer relations.

IBM released five new middleware solutions for telecommunications, six new middleware solutions for retail, five new solutions for healthcare and five for life sciences.

In addition, IBM will announce its Partnerworld Industry Networks for ISVs, a realignment of its programs for ISVs to deliver solutions and secure partners specifically for various industries. The industry-specific solutions will help ISVs deliver on IBMs on-demand strategy, the company said. The first six industries covered are: banking, financial markets, healthcare, life sciences, retail and telecommunications, IBM said.

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