IBM Aiding Partners, Workers

Unveils e-hosting services, training.

IBM focused on improving partner relationships and opportunities for workers at its PartnerWorld conference.

The Armonk, N.Y., company last week announced several new programs, including e-hosting services, and unveiled training initiatives for displaced employees.

At PartnerWorld here, IBM launched small- and midsize-business sales incentives for resellers, including managed hosting services offerings based on IBMs iSeries servers, and the expansion of a program that enables ISVs to deliver software as a service. The hosting offering allows resellers access to the same managed hosting capabilities that the companys top clients receive, according to company officials.

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

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

Meanwhile, the IBM Application Enablement Program will assist ISVs in providing their applications as on- demand services, 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 and Web services for delivering their solutions, company officials said.

IBM also launched its Innovation Centers Initiative to recruit partners and help them 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. IBM also added new demand enablement tools including sales tools, marketing support, training and solutions integration, officials said.