IBM Eyes Broader Market for SanFrancisco

In an effort to meet the growing needs of its customers and also expand the horizons of IBM SanFrancisco--its Java-based development tool--IBM has announced a strategic partnership with Keane, Inc. (Boston), a business and consulting IT firm.

A major element in IBM's e-business application framework, SanFrancisco (originally developed in the AS/400 facility in Rochester, Minn.) is a Java-based collection of prebuilt, pretested, reusable software components that allows developers to assemble server-side business applications from existing parts, rather than from scratch. Cross platform applications can be run on a variety of platforms, including the AS/400. Its ultimate goal is to enable developers to build complex applications more easily and in less time than without implementing these software objects.

Through the partnership, IBM will train Keane consultants and developers in SanFrancisco's technology to deliver e-business solutions to its customers utilizing SanFrancisco components. Keane will also provide technical support to SanFrancisco customers who request it.

"SanFrancisco is an emerging technology," says Chuck White, service delivery manager at Keane Inc. "Its another toolset we can use to deliver enterprise e-business solutions to our customers."

Because Keane is a $1 billion consulting firm and has worked with IBM in developing SanFrancisco, the partnership was a natural fit, says Rich Adams, Latin America Sales manager for IBM SanFrancisco. "Keane was one of the companies we outsourced part of the development process to, so they're already familiar with our product," he says.

According to Adams, IBM is actively pursuing system integrators to provide technical support for SanFrancisco customers. "Large customers see value in SanFrancisco, but the infrastructure wasn't set up for customers, it was set up for ISVs," he says. "By partnering with system integrators, they are able to provide the level of support to customers that we were unable to."

Adams says the only requirements for a system integrator that is looking to partner with IBM is that it is certified in SanFrancisco or willing to be trained in SanFrancisco. Partnering with system integrators enables IBM to meet its customers' needs, and also gives it an opportunity to increase market share.

"Prior to this announcement [SanFrancisco] wasn't part of our portfolio," says White. "For us, a tool like this gives us the ability to offer customers a very robust solution. If the right situation comes along, then we will recommend SanFrancisco."

Looking ahead, Adams says IBM will continue to aggressively pursue partnerships, especially as SanFrancisco continues to grow. "We expect to see a dramatic increase in 2000 in customers who have implemented and installed SanFrancisco," he says. "There's an open invitation to system integrators who are interested in SanFrancisco."