IBM Announces ISV Allies

IBM is slated to announce new developers and customers for its ISV Advantage for Industries and SMB programs.

IBM is slated to announce new developers and customers for its ISV Advantage for Industries and SMB programs.

At the PartnerWorld conference in Las Vegas earlier this month, IBM announced that it will invest $1 billion this year in ISV programs, as well as its new ISV Advantage for Industries program. This week the Armonk, N.Y., company plans to announce its first entrant into that program, SPL WorldGroup Inc., of San Francisco.

J. Guerry Waters, senior vice president and chief technology officer at SPL, said his company joined the program "because we needed a global footprint, and we felt like we needed to find partners that had breadth from a technology and marketing point of view" that matched SPLs goals.

SPL delivers customer care and billing software for the energy and utilities industry but is branching into financial services, insurance and media, Waters said.

Buell Duncan, IBMs general manager of ISV and developer relations, said IBM will target some 15 industry segments by years end with its new program.

While the ISV Advantage for Industries program is new, the IBM ISV Advantage for SMB (small and midsize businesses) is about a year old. This week, IBM will announce that Frontline Consultancy and Business Services Ltd., of Manchester, England, along with IBM, has won a deal with Johnston Sweepers Ltd., of Surrey, England, to deliver services and support around Frontlines Kudos service management offering.

Andrew Dewhurst, a partner at Frontline, said his company won the Johnston Sweepers deal from a competitor that was pitching based on Microsoft Corp.s Great Plains software "because we could integrate into their back-office systems more quickly." Johnston Sweepers makes street-cleaning vehicles, and Kudos will help it manage post-sale customer support, Dewhurst said.

SPL and Frontline will use IBMs WebSphere, DB2 and Universal Database products. In addition, Frontline is using IBMs Lotus Notes and Domino technology, Dewhurst said.

IBMs Duncan said the SMB space will be IBMs fiercest battleground in its fight with Microsoft to woo developers. "The real game changer is the connection we have with our client organizations," he said.

Corina Cline, vice president of products at Yojna Inc., an IBM SMB-focused ISV in Farmington Hills, Mich., said, "Microsoft has a very retail mentality, and theyre used to making changes to products pretty much at whim. But with software aimed at commercial entities, like banks, you want more stability."