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IBM, Indian Tech Training Firm E-Business Partners

IBM Global Services India and Aptech Ltd. have entered into a strategic e-business solutions partnership.

The alliance covers a host of activities such as education, knowledge management, migration of legacy applications and development of web-enabled solutions based on IBM's e-business technology.

IBM and Aptech are to offer courses in IBM products such as Net.Commerce, Firewall, VA Java, Lotus Notes and concepts like Internet security and Web administration.

The training is to be through its professional training division, Asset International.

IBM and Aptech would be able to combine their respective complementary strengths to bring a wide range of e-business solutions to the Indian and global marketplace, officials here said.

The e-business industry is expected to generate revenues worth $300 billion by 2002, which promises a huge market.

In the first phase, the course will offer training on IBM's e-business solutions in 35 centers and then extend it across Aptech's network of centers.

The partnership will also offer consulting and implementation services using IBM Net.Commerce technologies to corporates in India and abroad.

Aptech Ltd., one of the leading computer training institutes in India, is planning to implement a company-wide knowledge management network and the SAP enterprise-wide resource planning (ERP) system at an investment of about Rs 35 crore (US$8.25 million).

The main focus of the company this year is to be on knowledge management systems, e-commerce business and ERP.

"In the digital age, managing information effectively is a prerequisite for success. Companies must react more quickly to market needs, get products to markets with greater speed and respond more completely to changing business conditions," a company official pointed out. "It is in this connection that our e-business strategy will pay out."

The ERP system, which Aptech is planning to implement, will mainly be used to interconnect the operations of over 1,100 Aptech centers spread across 15 countries to streamline and ensure effective delivery of various educational services that Aptech offers to its customers.

A knowledge management system enables companies to achieve these by allowing them to build on existing technology to create highly efficient, integrated systems that collect, manage, organize and disseminate information throughout an enterprise.

Though relatively a new concept in India, knowledge management system holds the key that could unleash the knowledge resources locked up within an organization, the official said.

"One of the major benefits that can accrue to firms through knowledge management systems will be the ability to choose varying technologies and integrate them to work seamlessly," he added.

Though many companies in India today have the fundamental blocks necessary for building the knowledge network across the organization, "a lot more goes into the making of a knowledge network."

Aptech, in collaboration with Microsoft, is also to set up the country's first knowledge resource center in Mumbai.

The center will showcase industry `best practices' in knowledge acquisition, storage and dissemination.

Aptech has also signed a memorandum of understanding to be part of the 'Millennium Park' of the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corp. in Navi Mumbai, claimed to be the largest in the country.

According to Aptech executive director Harshad Shah, the 50,000 sq feet of land which it has bought in the Millennium Park would be used for, amongst other things, developing a hi-tech center for developing e-commerce related activities.

Initially, it will employ around 800 software personnel at its park site.