RealTime IT News

IBM to Sprout More Dev Centers Abroad

A surge in demand for business applications in China, Russia and Brazil has prompted IBM to accelerate its timetable to give them development centers.

The goal of IBM's centers is to promote the growth of technology catering to open standards and open source, as well as to encourage ISVs in these countries to migrate their business apps onto IBM's middleware and hardware.

To add to the 25 centers already scattered throughout the United States, Europe and Asia-Pacific, IBM said it will open centers in Guangzhou, Chengdu, Xi'an and Shenyang in China, adding to the centers the country already has in Beijing and Shanghai. IBM will also develop a center in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and it will expand its existing center in Moscow.

IBM officials said the three countries are key markets for the company because they are relatively new to the business of developing and deploying business productivity software and middleware in an enterprise setting. Research outfit IDC reported that China alone is a $2 billion business application market. Even better, none of the three countries, said IBM, are tied to any one software system.

"They used to be primarily PC-driven purchases and what we're seeing in all of these countries now, they're all evolving to solutions-driven sales," said Mark Hanny, IBM vice president of worldwide ISV alliances. "So what's happening like in China, 35 percent of businesses are buying business applications for the first time. They're really coming to the sweet spot of what IBM's strategy is, which is helping customers solve real business problems."

Markets like China, Russia and Brazil favor IBM's business strategy, said Hanny, which is to partner with independent software makers in the regions to create software applications on IBM hardware and using IBM development tools, like WebSphere.

Businesses in countries like China and Russia, he said, are more comfortable going to a local software company than buying into the proprietary product lines of foreign companies like Microsoft , SAP and Oracle .

And those local companies are increasingly looking at more open technologies like Linux and Java to create their applications, Hanny said.

"The other thing we're seeing is how much open standards is being accepted in these countries," he said. "They're not really encumbered by proprietary or legacy technology, and they really see that developing on this open infrastructure allows them to innovate and expand their operations quicker."

IBM's innovation centers cater to that strategy. They feature workshops and seminars, consultation services and areas to test software applications on IBM hardware, as well as the chance to mingle with other software developers in the area.