IBM Wins Gold Brandon Hall Excellence in E-Learning Award

Online Knowledge Portal Wins Top-Level Award in Outstanding Learning Programs and Initiatives Category

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SOMERS, NY - 14 Oct 2004: IBM today announced that its Virtual Innovation Center (VIC), an online knowledge and enablement portal for IBM Business Partners, was the recipient of a Gold Award as part of the Brandon Hall Excellence in Learning Awards held this week at the Training and Online Learning Fall Conference and Expo in San Francisco. The top-level award recognized IBM's performance in the Outstanding Learning Programs and Initiatives category, given annually to workplace learning programs that align with and impact overall business objectives, while delivering content uniquely designed to meet the learning needs of its participants.

The Excellence in Learning Awards are presented by brandon-hall.com, one of the e-learning industry's leading research and consulting firms. Now in its tenth year, the awards program showcases exceptional work by providing feedback and benchmarking to entrants in an overall effort to help advance the e-learning industry. This year entries were submitted in three categories: Outstanding Learning Programs and Initiatives, Custom Content, and Innovative Technology. Entries were evaluated by judges with expertise in instructional design, online learning and the implementation of e-learning.

Since its inception in early 2003, the Virtual Innovation Center (VIC) has helped educate and enable some 3,700 IBM Business Partners to build customer solutions using IBM Express technology, a comprehensive portfolio of offerings uniquely designed for small and medium businesses (SMBs). Delivered as an online knowledge and enablement portal at no cost to IBM Business Partners, the VIC uses a combination of educational coursework, live mentoring, online technical support, solution roadmaps, customer simulations, FAQs, case studies, marketing collateral and discussion forums to meet a myriad of learning styles and challenges. Through the VIC, IBM Business Partners have already built more than 800 new applications using IBM Express middleware.

"The VIC has been instrumental to IBM's efforts to educate and enable thousands of independent software vendors (ISVs), systems integrators and resellers to build and deploy solutions on IBM Express technology," said Scott Cooper, vice president of channel and SMB marketing for IBM Software Group. "We're extremely honored to be recognized for these efforts and will continue to invest in the VIC as a key education and enablement vehicle for IBM Business Partners."

"The winning entries this year show that innovation in our field is continuing at full speed. The winners are excellent both in terms of creativity and range of application," said Brandon Hall, Ph.D., of brandon-hall.com and chairman of the Excellence in Learning awards program. "These winners are the new cutting edge."

IBM is now working to expand the spectrum of resources offered to Business Partners through the VIC, including additional hardware-centric education and enablement tools, porting assistance, system-sizing guides, educational classes and research reports. The IBM Virtual Innovation Center is offered as a free resource to all member levels of IBM PartnerWorld. More information is available at www.ibm.com/partnerworld/vic.

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