IBM Expands SOA Partner Offerings With New Products, Marketing Tools and Education Programs


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ARMONK, NY - 15 Apr 2009: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced plans for new social media tools, education programs and technologies targeted at the service oriented architecture (SOA) business partner community. Today's announcement is designed to open new markets for the channel and help partners compete more effectively in an ever changing global environment.

The programs, which will be detailed during the IMPACT 2009 conference in May, feature nine new social media tools, including Virtual Forum, a virtual trade show complete with product booths, logo advertising and scheduled chat sessions to help partners drive lead opportunities. IBM partners such as Sirius Computer Solutions have already taken advantage of this by participating with clients in a successful early demonstration of the Virtual Forum.

The social media aspect of the announcement includes new Marketing 2.0 benefits, providing a variety of web-based resources that partners can use to generate demand, progress opportunities and strengthen their overall marketing strategy. This is critical as recent statistics have shown that search referrals, spurred by internet marketing and social media tactics, are now driving 34 percent of web traffic and the average cost of internet marketing is only fifty cents per lead as compared to traditional marketing which is more than nine dollars per lead.(1)

An example of one of the ways IBM is tapping into Marketing 2.0 is WebCollage, Inc. IBM has teamed with WebCollage to provide partners with Web syndication, a simple way to augment their Web sites with all of the tools needed to help partners generate leads and drive sales.

Additional Marketing initiatives to be unveiled at IMPACT 2009 consist of:

The new education programs include an update of Innov8, IBM's "serious" game. Innov8 v.2 delivers a complete redesign of the game, featuring a new, online global "collaboration feature" that allows players to work within a virtual team to progress to the next level of the game.

As a result of this new teaming capability, Innov8 has now moved beyond the university classroom to become an educational tool for businesses to deploy in-house in support of their globally integrated infrastructures. The game features three new scenarios that reflect the new level of intelligence businesses are requiring for their high-value job opportunities including:

Prolifics is one of the first partners to team with IBM by helping joint customers visualize business process management (BPM) using Innov8.

"Innov8 is a very powerful tool enabling us to expand how we are able to present IBM and Prolifics joint solutions using 'real world' scenarios," said Nicolas Jabbour, CEO of Prolifics. "The scenarios showcased in the game, Smarter Traffic, Smarter Supply Chain and Smarter Customer Service are reflective of the types of projects that IBM and Prolifics have teamed up on over the past two years."

With a focus on helping partners gain the most for new technologies and innovations, IBM will also expand its unique portfolio of industry-specific solutions to include the Insurance Process Acceleration (IPA) Framework and the Network Computing Operations (NCO) Framework. IBM partners will be able to validate their applications on these frameworks which in turn will allow clients to rapidly deploy these open-standards based, pre-configured solutions into their existing IT infrastructures. These solutions build upon IBM's industry framework strategy that provides a roadmap of pre-tested software and extensions, developed by both IBM and its business partners, which have been specially configured to meet an industry's specific needs.

IBM will announce new joint partner products including one with Hubspan to deliver a new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) integration platform. This new offering will combine the Hubspan on-demand integration platform and IBM WebSphere integration software into a single platform that can help businesses reduce the cost, complexity and risk of integrating business processes across internal and external communities.

"Our business partner community is vital to our success and by listening to and working with our business partners, IBM is able to respond to market changes more rapidly," said Sandy Carter, VP IBM SOA and WebSphere. "That is why we are expanding our partner initiatives that reinforce IBM's commitment to our business partners."

Additional elements of today's announcement include:

IBM will also offer business partners a series of new, flexible financing options to help customers who need to acquire SOA solutions today, but prefer to spread their payments over time. A seminar on financing options will also be available during IMPACT 2009 to help business partners take advantage of these new financing options.

With more than 7,000 customer implementations worldwide, IBM is the SOA market leader. This leadership in SOA is further illustrated by a thriving community of greater than 120,000 architects and developers, 300 SOA-specific technology patents, 2,000 universities advancing the SOA curriculum, and 7,420 Business Partners building SOA skills, solutions, and practices.

For more information on how IBM is helping clients and business partners to make smarter, faster decisions by using SOA, visit: http://www.ibm.com/soa

IBM, WebSphere, SmartSOA and the IBM e-business logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation. For a list of additional IBM trademarks, please see www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml

All other company, product or service names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of others. Statements concerning IBM's future development plans and schedules are made for planning purposes only, and are subject to change or withdrawal without notice. Reseller prices may vary.

(1) Source: New Language of Marketing 2.0, 2009

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