IBM Arms Business Partners to Drive Innovation for Mid-Sized Companies Using SOA

Expanded programs, new tools, and software help businesses adapt to changing market conditions

PARTNERWORLD, LAS VEGAS, March 13, 2006 -- IBM today announced new initiatives to assist customers and partners with the emerging computing trend called service oriented architecture (SOA), which allows companies streamline their business processes and match them to specific, componentized elements in the IT infrastructure.

Key elements of the announcement include a new PartnerWorld Industry Networks SOA Specialty as well as new tools and software to arm Business Partners to help their small- and mid-sized businesses (SMB) customers use technology to innovate and compete on a global scale.

“This will be the year of the channels for SOA,” said Sandy Carter, vice president, WebSphere and SOA, IBM Software Group. “Today we are delivering to our Business Partners the tools and skills to solve business problems common to SMBs. Based on an open-standards approach, these new offerings enable customers to maximize their technology resources and allow them to focus on innovation and growth."

Expanded SOA Programs for Business Partners

IBM formalized SOA offerings for Business Partners in June last year. Since then, more than 1,200 leading independent software vendors and systems integrators have taken advantage of software, services, tools, and education to help their customers with SOA. To support additional partners that align with IBM’s SOA strategic direction, IBM is announcing new marketing and sales benefits and Web-based sales support delivered through the PartnerWorld Industry Networks and its Virtual Innovation Center.

For partners that have demonstrated support for the IBM SOA Foundation, IBM is announcing an SOA Specialty in Partner World for Industry Networks. The new Specialty will provide a technical enablement and skills-building roadmap for partners who want to access the growing SOA market opportunity. The Specialty will also provide SOA-specific marketing and sales benefits for those who achieve key milestones such as SOA Connection Events to meet directly with IBM SOA Sales specialists and discounted print advertising and telemarketing. IBM Sales Connections, a consultative service in the PartnerWorld Industry Networks, helps business partners close SOA deals quickly by connecting them with the relevant IBM SOA and local field sales team.

SSA Global, a leading provider of extended enterprise solutions for manufacturing, distribution, retail, services, and public organizations worldwide, has exploited many of the benefits IBM offers partners. This includes participating in a recent joint SOA Webcast delivered by IBM and SSA Global executives to educate SSA Global customers on the benefits of SOA and how to get started.

“Customers are beginning to understand the benefits of SOA but are unsure where to start,” said Cory Eaves, chief technology office, SSA Global. “SSA Global and IBM work very closely together on a daily basis not just on a go-to-market strategy but also on a development and product basis. We leverage IBM SOA skills and expertise which is helping SSA Global educate the business community and also win deals.”

In addition to the SOA Specialty, IBM will offer a select number of Business Partners that have demonstrated the ability to fully exploit the benefits of the SOA Foundation additional benefits including access to customized sales and marketing rewards, including co-funding marketing programs, and IBM executive support. They may also have their software assets published in the IBM SOA Business Central to help drive additional sales leads.

New Tools for SOA

The new IBM SOA Business Central provides a comprehensive resource for IBM and SOA software developed by Business Partners. When complete, SOA Business Central will include more than 3,000 SOA industry specific assets or “services,” combinations of software code, intellectual property, and best practices used to solve a specific business problem. Customers can search SOA Business Central for the appropriate software building blocks to solve their specific business problems.

SOA Business Central will include the upcoming WebSphere Service Registry and Repository for SOA Governance that will allow their software assets to be catalogued and stored in the repository when it becomes available later this year. Customers will be able to search, download, and install ISV services directly from it. This delivers strong governance capabilities for the publication, finding, subscription, management, and policy enforcement of SOA services and assets.

Actuate Corporation, the leader in Enterprise Reporting and Performance Management Applications and a premier level Business Partner in the PartnerWorld Industry Networks, plans to deepen its long-standing relationship with IBM by contributing tried and tested banking business services to the IBM SOA Business Central. Actuate’s contribution draws on its history of SOA readiness, which reaches far beyond the business intelligence industry norm of a Web-services-ready internal architecture, to enable banks to effectively keep up with customer needs, evolving business processes, stringent regulatory requirements, and strategies to maximize competitive advantage.

“Reporting is a key part of monitoring the success of any business process, and therefore it forms a vital part of any SOA foundation,” said Nobby Akiha, vice president of marketing, Actuate Corporation. “Actuate is already a part of IBM’s Banking Front Office solution set, and existing customers using Actuate with IBM middleware are already taking full advantage of our true services-oriented infrastructure. By contributing our banking business services to the IBM SOA Business Central we’re demonstrating our support for the foundation IBM is developing to model componentized business services in an efficient, enterprise-class fashion that customers can derive immediate value from.”

Since speed in identifying market trends and reacting to changing conditions is a priority for mid-market customers competing with larger rivals, IBM is introducing the Rapid Value Assessment Tool, which is based on data from thousands of successful IBM SOA customers. The tool allows Business Partners to work with customers to identify business problems that can be solved in an SOA, recommend the appropriate WebSphere-based software to solve the problem and project when the customer can expect to achieve ROI on the project, which is usually in six months or less.

New Software for SOA

Larger enterprises moving toward an SOA have found the most success by concentrating on individual business problems, generating a return on that investment, and then moving on to tackle additional business problems. Based on the experience gained in these larger accounts, IBM has identified five key business issues customers face that can be quickly addressed in an SOA using one of four new Solution Starting Points (SSP) Solution Builder Express (SBE) offerings for SOA. Partners can use these new SSPs to develop repeatable solutions to address specific business problems in an SOA.

To help partners address their customers' needs to improve operational efficiency and reduce administrative costs, the new Rapid Application Infrastructure SSP was designed using WebSphere Application Server and Rational Application Developer. For increased employee productivity, Synchronize Applications and Data SSP is based on WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus and WebSphere Integration Developer. The Collaborative Workplace SSP based on Workplace Services Express helps improve customer retention. The new Process Integration SSP is based on WebSphere Business Integration Server Express and helps small business improve employee productivity.

Building on the momentum surrounding the open testing and early evaluation of the next version of its upcoming DB2 data server -- code named "Viper" -- IBM is announcing the DB2 Viper early partner community. This program will provide education, forum support, and product launch participation for qualified partners who join the community. DB2 Viper is the industry’s first hybrid data server, delivering unparalleled performance of applications using XML data while reducing their development time and cost. The Viper release adds management of XML data in its native structure to the existing relational data management capability to help customers manage and access data across an SOA with unprecedented flexibility and speed.

About IBM

IBM is the world’s largest information technology company with more then 90 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. Drawing on resources from across IBM and key business partners, IBM offers a wide range of services, financing, solutions and technologies that enable customers to take full advantage of the on demand era. For more information on IBM’s on demand strategy, visit

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