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IBM Launches Training & Certification Initiative to Help Business Partners Develop and Sell e-business Solutions

Latest PartnerWorld Enhancement Delivers Skills, Confidence and Credentials

LAS VEGAS - 20 Jul 1999: -- SOLUTIONS ྟ -- IBM today announced a worldwide initiative to train and certify individuals in developing and selling e-business solutions. The initiative, which includes a new curriculum, certification program and satellite/Web-based learning alternatives, will be available through IBM PartnerWorld -- a marketing and enablement program designed to create new revenue opportunities for IBM Business Partners.

"When we launched PartnerWorld, we promised to enhance our Business Partners' ability to deliver true value to customers using IBM technology, software, services and solutions,'' said Buell Duncan, general manager, IBM Global Business Partners. "Today's enhancements are designed to deliver the skills, confidence and credentials that individuals and Business Partners need to transform their customers' businesses into e-businesses.''

The new offerings support the four tracks around which PartnerWorld was designed -- personal systems, systems and services, software, and developers -- to help Business Partners leverage the full portfolio of IBM products, services and technologies as they pursue e-business.

Part of Broad e-business Certification Plan
The initiative to certify individuals is the first installment on a much broader e-business program designed to create a network of products, solutions and firms that are enabled for e-business. In the months ahead, the program will continue to evolve as IBM expands the scope of the e-business certification resources and opportunities.

"We are committed to transferring to the industry the experience IBM has gained in over 18,000 e-business engagements,'' said Bill Zeitler, general manager, IBM worldwide software sales and marketing. ``The goal of our certification program is to build equity in this exciting market space and increase the international pool of talent and resources skilled in e-business transformation.''

The new e-business curriculum is built around the IBM Application Framework for e-business -- IBM's how-to approach for developing and running e-business applications based on proven technologies and open industry standards. It broadens IBM's already extensive education offerings, giving individuals a variety of paths for developing e-business specializations in everything from Web self-service to business intelligence, and across multiple software and hardware platforms -- from Websphere(a) to Lotus Domino(a) and S/390(a) to Netfinity(a).

The curriculum includes a variety of customer-focused technical and sales courses to be made available either through a traditional classroom setting or via satellite. IBM plans to offer the satellite alternative at a highly competitive rate thanks to "consumer-priced'' components that will make it more affordable for a greater number of individuals to become trained. The broadcasts will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, giving students broad flexibility in planning their schedules.
"This clearly distinguishes IBM from the rest of the pack and proves that there is meat behind the PartnerWorld initiative,'' said Janet Waxman, Program Director, Systems and Storage Distribution Channels, International Data Corporation. "This is a terrific program that combines all of the power of IBM, offers a sound e-business certification strategy, and sends a clear message that IBM Business Partners are part of the immediate family, not some distant cousin.''

Certification in Solution Sales and Solution Design
e-business certification is being offered in two areas -- consultative sales and technical solution design. Upon completing course work, applicants will be tested on what they have learned, and, once they pass, will be certified by IBM as follows:

-- IBM Certified for e-business - Solution Advisor -- demonstrating skills in helping customers develop a sound e-business vision, strategy and deployment plan for their businesses, emphasizing business benefits and return on investment, and addressing key concepts such as standards, security, availability, capacity growth, interoperability and management.

-- IBM Certified for e-business - Solution Designer -- demonstrating comprehensive technical skills necessary to design an implementable, secure and scaleable e-business solution. This includes evaluating technology, integration with existing environments, and using open standards within the IBM Application Framework for e-business.

"These certifications give customers confidence that the individuals they have selected to work on their solutions are trained to leverage the broad knowledge and capabilities IBM has built in e-business,'' said Jeff Krider, director of offerings, IBM Learning Services.

New PartnerEducation Web Portal
Complementing these initiatives is a new PartnerEducation Web portal launched by IBM this month. This portal offers a single location for IBM Business Partners, regardless of current program affiliation, to obtain information on all their educational needs -- from skills requirements, suggested roadmaps and class descriptions, to enrollments, professional certification requirements (product and e-business) and brand linkages. The site is open to all Business Partners at http://www.ibm.com/partners/education .

"We put a stake in the ground when we said we would make it easier for our Business Partners to do business with IBM,'' said Ian Bonner, vice president, marketing, Global Business Partners. ``This is only a taste of how we will continue delivering on that promise with PartnerWorld.''

Satellite Learning Made Interactive
The e-business curriculum is being offered through IBM's Learning Services -- part of IBM Global Services -- which boasts a high satisfaction rate from students. IBM's Learning Services is in the process of partnering with etNetworks, a satellite company specializing in broadcasting high-technology curricula. Individuals or companies will be able to subscribe to IBM training broadcasts, with flat rates available for the latter to encourage enrollment by more people.

Future satellite courses will be made interactive by use of a Web site, allowing students to engage in threaded discussions with other class participants and access a ``frequently asked question-and-answer'' database. Besides cutting training expenses, satellite learning will eliminate the need for key personnel to leave their work locations to attend courses. In addition to formalized learning, the satellite system may also be used for special communications events, seminars, sales meetings and delivering late-breaking news on a variety of topics.

"In the past, we've spent up to $170,000 to train key people at each of our 13 locations -- including travel, hotels and course fees, not to mention valuable time away from supporting customers,'' said Chris Pyle, president of Champion Computer Corporation, West Palm Beach, Fla. ``IBM/etNetworks satellite learning initiative will allow us to quadruple the number of employees we train at a fraction of the cost, while keeping them close to work. Best of all, we're developing the right skills that will give us leadership in e-business.''

Availability
The e-business curriculum and certification program are available worldwide beginning this month. Those interested in enrolling in courses or learning more may access the PartnerEducation site at http://www.ibm.com/partners/education and select "related resources'', or go directly to the IBM Certification site at www.ibm.com/certify. The satellite learning component will be available in the US later this year, with plans for future deployment in Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America.

All IBM Learning Services classroom courses are available to Business Partners at up to a 25 percent discount.

1Launched in May, IBM PartnerWorld rewards Business Partners who invest in IBM offerings. It consists of three membership levels -- Premier, Advanced and Member -- with differentiated qualification criteria and benefits at each level. It is a worldwide common program framework and delivers support for all of IBM's channel-ready portfolio through current Business Partner programs.

About IBM

IBM is the world's largest information technology company, with 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. IBM software offers the widest range of applications, middleware and operating systems for all types of computing platforms, allowing customers to take full advantage of the new era of e-business. The fastest way to get more information about IBM software is through the IBM software home page at http://www.software.ibm.com.

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(a) Indicates a trademark or registered trademark of International Business Machines Corporation. All other products or
company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Contact(s) information

Tim O'Malley
IBM
914-642-3223
tomalley@us.ibm.com

Tim Keeley
IBM
914-766-1728
tkeeley@fr.ibm.com

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