IBM SOA Partner Program Grows 200 Percent

New Tools and Assets to Help Business Partners Target SOA Opportunities

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ARMONK, NY - 27 Apr 2007: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that more than 3,600 partners have joined IBM's SOA Partner Program, which is more than triple the amount of partners enrolled at this time last year.

Depending on their level in the program, Business Partners have access to a range of software, services, tools, education marketing and sales benefits. In addition, they can benefit from Web-based sales support delivered through the PartnerWorld Industry Networks and its Virtual Innovation to help their customers with mission critical SOA projects.

Since the program was announced last year, more than 145 Business Partners have been accepted to the IBM SOA Specialty, which is the highest level where Business Partners receive the most benefits. This requires Business Partners to complete rigorous SOA technical and business requirements and align to IBM's software and strategy for SOA.

The development of a strong and energetic Business Partner ecosystem is a key aspect of IBM's success in SOA. "Our Business Partners work with us to give customers the flexibility and agility that they need when running their businesses," states Sandy Carter, Vice President of Strategy, Marketing, and Channels for IBM SOA and WebSphere. "We will continue to invest in helping our Business Partners provide new business services and strategic skills that will make customers using SOA more successful."

IBM's SOA Business Catalog, also announced last year at PartnerWorld, continues to grow. The Catalog now contains more than 3,800 IBM and Business Partner-developed SOA software assets used to solve specific business problems. More than half of these assets are from Business Partners.

IBM will continue to work with Business Partners on applying SOA to strategic, mission critical projects. As customers continue to make SOA a more critical part of their business, they will have to ensure that they plan for the scalability, reliability, and performance that they will need going forward. Many of our Business Partners work with IBM to provide customers with strategic insights on their growing SOA initiatives. IBM is expanding its SOA Certification portfolio with a new SOA Advanced Practitioner certification that will be available later this year.

"IBM's SOA capabilities enable us to rapidly build and integrate our composite applications into legacy applications, such as SAP or Oracle, reducing the total cost of ownership and time to value for our customers," said Raymond Blanchard, VP of Business Development, TrueDemand. "As an IBM Business Partner, we get tremendous support on education, training, and marketing from IBM that we can leverage to provide value to our joint customers.

To help IBM Business Partners focus their energies on the greatest SOA opportunities, IBM is announcing a series of tools and assets targeting four SOA sweet spots.

Next month at IBM Impact 2007 -- IBM's first worldwide customer conference for WebSphere and SOA -- IBM with further recognize Business Partner contribution to the advancement of SOA through a set of three awards. The IMPACT Partner Solution Award will recognize the Business Partner solution that illustrates the strength of partnering with WebSphere to solve customer challenges, while delivering proven IMPACT in the marketplace. The IMPACT Innovation award will recognizes visionary Business Partners who are leading the charge in exploiting IBM SOA and WebSphere capabilities in innovative, leading-edge, exciting ways. The IMPACT SOA Process Solution award will recognizes the Business Partner are positioned as a leader in providing their customers with an effective and efficient way to get started with SOA through the 'Process" IBM SOA Entry point.

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