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IBM Expands Roadmaps For ISVs

UPDATE: IBM announced the online availability of more tools to help third-party application developers build programs and market their products to small- to medium-sized businesses (SMB).

Scott Hebner, IBM vice president of ISV developer relations, said the latest round of resource tools is a continuation of the company's pledge to spend $1 billion in support of its partnered ISVs this year, with plans to spend the same next year.

"Collectively, it's going to be in the same ballpark, incrementing a little," he said. "What's happening every day is more and more people in IBM are working with ISVs to go to market with customers; it's one of those deals where it's like a snowball rolling downhill.

"What you're seeing from IBM is an absolute declaration that the success of our customers and our company is going to be based on how well we partner," he continued, "particularly with those companies that provide applications and provide the ability to help them integrate them into our customer's businesses."

The Armonk, N.Y., company put 18 new "enablement" roadmaps on its Web site catering to ISVs in the IBM PartnerWorld program and added virtual loaner support on the AIX, Linux and Power5 platforms. Also added were additional technical resources and a new marketing program. IBM's ISV pledge came earlier this year, in March, when the company first announced PartnerWorld. In October, IBM eased restrictions to include more ISVs in its marketing and sales channels.

The success of this summer's virtual loaner program -- which drew in 200 projects -- prompted officials at Big Blue to expand its platform support to the AIX 5L v5.2 and SuSE Linux 9 operating systems running on IBM's Power5 architecture. Available free-of-charge to its ISV business partners, the loaner program lets ISVs test their application on IBM's hardware platform without having to buy equipment to run tests.

The 18 roadmaps introduced by IBM take much of the guesswork out of the hands of ISVs in the program. With instructions on making software applications run on IBM's hardware and software, the resource also gives ISVs best practices tips on how to market their application within IBM's sales channels.

"We've had a lot of good of good and great technical collateral in education and resources but it's never been arranged in a logical, step-by-step fashion," said Adam Tumas, IBM Virtual Innovation Center for hardware program manager.

IBM also spiced up its ISV marketing efforts with a "solution connection" program, an online directory for resellers and systems integrators featuring third-party applications in the PartnerWorld program.

(Update corrects Hebner's business title.)