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IBM Launches New Initiative to Help Developers Build Skills and Open Standards Solutions


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ARMONK, NY - 22 Aug 2005: IBM today announced a new initiative to help start-up companies in emerging markets -- China, India, Russia, Brazil -- more quickly and easily develop solutions based on open standards technology. For the first time, developers will get instant access to IBM's hardware and software portfolio, free of charge, from their desktop that will enable them to gain new skills and build open solutions in half the amount of time and at one tenth of the cost.

IBM will also roll out more than 40 different virtual enablement workshops through the IBM Virtual Innovation Center that will expedite learning and help developers go to market with their applications faster and cheaper.

The move is focused on helping to accelerate the development of open standards-based solutions. In 2004 alone, more that 400 developers a day joined IBM's developer networks in emerging markets. This equates to about 17 new developers signing up every hour. In response to this rapid adoption, IBM is deploying a series of virtual mentoring classes that will allow developers to integrate their applications with IBM technologies through virtual resources.

A shift is occurring in emerging markets as the number of developers supporting open standards continue to accelerate. According to an IDC study, China and India will experience the highest growth in professional software developers by 2008 with compound annual growth rates of 25.6% and 24.5% respectively. The firm also forecasts that the total number of professional developers, many who will be building solutions on open standards technology, will reach nearly 15 million in 2008.*

Application development companies can gain access to a host of virtual workshops through a web conference from their personal computers. The mentoring classes, which are modeled after the successful classes taught by skilled architects at the IBM Innovation Centers, are designed to increase workplace productivity so companies can complete enablement activities, while executing core business functions.

The rSmart Group, a provider of open source applications for higher education, recently accessed online tutorials, classes, and input from an IBM specialist to port their applications to WebSphere in less than seven days. "Through IBM's mentoring program, we were able perform advanced application integration work that would have been difficult and time consuming without IBM's focused support," said Scott Birmingham, Vice President of Product Development, of rSmart. "Using IBM's comprehensive educational and technical resources as our guide, we were able to complete our IT project seamlessly, easily and methodically -- three times faster than we had expected."

ISVs can sign up for the virtual workshops through the Virtual Innovation Center site, IBM's one stop enablement portal for Business Partners to learn, build and deploy solutions based on IBM technologies.

Educating and Collaborating Through Online Classrooms
As part of its larger ISV education and technical enablement efforts, IBM's Virtual Mentoring initiative increases ISV exposure to the use of innovative, open standards-based technologies. Through this initiative, IBM is paving the way for thousands of ISVs to pursue virtual enablement so that they can go to market with their solutions faster.

IBM's virtual workshops are structured after classes taught by skilled technical architects at the IBM Innovation Centers. Students can attend classes from their home, office or even local coffee shop -- simply by dialing into a lecture via phone or Voice over Internet Protocol. Before each class, IBM configures a customized remote environment for students so they can follow the lecture and participate in virtual learning labs. The instructor remains accessible via telephone, e-mail and instant messaging tools to support students through each stage of enablement. ISVs can participate in virtual workshops that cover a wide range of topics, including classes to jumpstart software development on IBM WebSphere Application Server, Advanced Portal technology and IBM Express middleware.

IBM already has received positive interest in virtual workshops from ISV located in Brazil, India, and China. Some ISVs, such as CPM in Brazil, and DHCC in China, have been able to "preview" early versions of the classes.

Shanghai-based DHCC, recently accessed the virtual mentoring program in a pilot that was being operated in China.

"IBM's easy-to-access classes and technical labs have helped us tremendously with our enablement work on WebSphere Portal," said Liao Xiao Gong, DHCC. "The instructors were skilled and the classes were informative. Because of the guidance that IBM gave, we were able to speed up development and begin additional enablement work through the IBM Virtual Innovation Center."

Driving Developer Skills in Emerging Markets
developerWorks creates a foundation for skills and innovation among all types of developers, including individual developers, ISVs, and faculty and students involved in development within universities. More than 4.5 million registered users have access to skills-building resources around open standards, open source and IBM's Software Development platform.

developerWorks resources for developers include tools, trial code, discussion forums, how-to articles from introductory to advanced levels, certification tutorials, news, and events. As emerging markets embrace open standards and open source, developerWorks offers special sections emphasizing emerging open technologies such as Eclipse, Linux, and PHP.

"To help our Business Partners become successful, we must transfer our knowledge and skills so that they can continue building innovative solutions," said Roy Aho, Director, Developer Relations Technical Services & Support. "The mentoring programs, coupled with IBM's developerWorks resources, allow us to influence and impact a greater pool of ISVs in emerging countries. By focusing on nurturing our ISV relationships, while promoting open standards, we are helping our partners deliver more impactful business solutions."

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