IBM has announced that it will be providing new social media tools, education programs and other marketing resources to help its service-oriented architecture business partners generate leads and drive sales.
These programs will be officially unveiled at the company’s Impact 2009 conference in May.
The new package includes Web-based resources such as virtual tradeshows, logo advertising, scheduled chat sessions and new scenarios in IBM’s serious game Innov8 to help partners present their solutions to customers using real-world scenarios. IBM is also introducing SOAsocial – the first social network for the SOA community, the company said. To ensure partners reap the rewards of their new efforts, IBM will also provide search engine optimization training.
The announcement is designed to open new markets for the channel and help partners compete more effectively in the global environment.
The programs IBM will deliver feature nine new social media tools, including Virtual Forum, a virtual trade show complete with product booths, logo advertising and scheduled chat sessions to help partners drive lead opportunities. IBM partners such as Sirius Computer Solutions have already taken advantage of this by participating with clients in a successful early demonstration of the Virtual Forum.
With so much invested in the SOA space, it is clear IBM does not adhere to the notion that “SOA is dead.” Indeed, IBM officials said the company has more than 7,000 customer implementations worldwide and IBM is a leader in the SOA market. This leadership in SOA is further illustrated by a thriving community of greater than 120,000 architects and developers, 300 SOA-specific technology patents, 2,000 universities advancing the SOA curriculum, and 7,420 Business Partners building SOA skills, solutions and practices, IBM officials said.
The social media aspect of the announcement includes new Marketing 2.0 benefits, providing a variety of Web-based resources that partners can use to generate demand, progress opportunities and strengthen their overall marketing strategy. IBM officials said they believe this is critical as recent statistics have shown that search referrals, spurred by Internet marketing and social media tactics, are now driving 34 percent of Web traffic and the average cost of Internet marketing is only 50 cents per lead as compared with traditional marketing, which is more than $9 per lead.
An example of one of the ways IBM is tapping into Marketing 2.0 is WebCollage. IBM has teamed with WebCollage to provide partners with Web syndication, a simple way to augment their Websites with all of the tools needed to help partners generate leads and drive sales, IBM said.
Additional Marketing Initiatives
Additional marketing initiatives to be unveiled at Impact consist of:
- SOAsocial – A social network created especially for the SOA community. This will allow partners and clients to follow SOA-relevant social activities and actively participate in SOA conversations across SOA communities.
- SOA Business Catalog – A redesign of this resource that provides business partners and customers with access to more than 23,500 tested SOA assets and helps in the development of their solutions. The new release includes improved search functions that let shoppers search for service-based products by business need, SOA entry point or product type. In addition, new live chat capabilities will offer sales assistance.
Meanwhile, IBM announced that Innov8 has now moved beyond the university classroom to become an educational tool for businesses to deploy in-house in support of their globally integrated infrastructures. The game features three new scenarios that reflect the new level of intelligence businesses are requiring for their high-value job opportunities, including:
- “Green” Supply Chain: Players evaluate a traditional supply chain model and are tasked with reducing a fictional company’s carbon footprint.
- Efficient Traffic Flow: Players evaluate existing traffic patterns and reroute traffic based on sensors that alert the player to disruptions such as accidents and roadway congestion.
- Call Center Customer Service: Using a call center environment, players develop more efficient ways to respond to customers.
Prolifics is one of the first partners to team with IBM by helping joint customers visualize business process management (BPM) using Innov8.
“Innov8 is a very powerful tool enabling us to expand how we are able to present IBM and Prolifics joint solutions using ‘real world’ scenarios,” said Nicolas Jabbour, CEO of Prolifics. “The scenarios showcased in the game, Smarter Traffic, Smarter Supply Chain and Smarter Customer Service, are reflective of the types of projects that IBM and Prolifics have teamed up on over the past two years.”
IBM will announce new joint partner products, including one with Hubspan to deliver a new SAAS (software-as-a-service) integration platform. This new offering will combine the Hubspan on-demand integration platform and IBM WebSphere integration software into a single platform that can help businesses reduce the cost, complexity and risk of integrating business processes across internal and external communities.
“Our business partner community is vital to our success and by listening to and working with our business partners, IBM is able to respond to market changes more rapidly,” said Sandy Carter, IBM’s vice president of SOA and WebSphere. “That is why we are expanding our partner initiatives that reinforce IBM’s commitment to our business partners.”
Additional elements of today’s announcement include:
- IBM Spaces – New micro-Websites focused on a specific software project, development activity, user group community, technical expert, or any other technical subject of interest to partners and clients.
- Free certifications to support business partner sales requirements – 29 SOA and WebSphere course packages featuring seven new certifications will be available at no charge to business partners at IBM Impact 2009. Business partners can use sessions and content throughout the week to build their skills. They will then be able to take these required certifications while at the event.
- Updates to the SOA sandbox – The hands-on environment will help partners to learn about the SOA software portfolio. Included in the updates are new exercises and industry business patterns.
- Impact Comes to You – IBM is offering a series of predefined events, deliverables and suggested agendas to help partners deliver the latest in SOA messaging directly to their customers.
IBM will also offer business partners a series of new, flexible financing options to help customers who need to acquire SOA solutions today, but prefer to spread their payments over time, company officials said. A seminar on financing options will be available during Impact 2009 to help business partners take advantage of these new financing options.