RealTime IT News

Wanted: iSeries Platform Innovators

IBM will provide up to $50,000 in new services to lure more partners and tool developers to write software for its eServer iSeries system.

In what one official called the company's most comprehensive push on the platform in a decade, the eServer iSeries Initiative for Innovation program is an indication of Big Blue's persistence in building support among more than 2,500 partners and developers for its mid-market server.

iSeries, which includes hardware, middleware, storage and security, is targeted at small and medium-sized business customers, which IBM believes has the potential to be a $370 billion market.

As part of its e-business on-demand strategy, the Armonk, N.Y. company aims to bring more developers into its fold to create software for RFID , Web services and portals on iSeries systems, said Peter Bingaman, vice president of marketing for iSeries.

Bingaman said IBM plans to pump more money and personnel into its IBM Innovation Centers, located in China, Japan, Italy, France and Australia, the U.S. and U.K.

For the "application innovation" program, IBM will provide $50,000 in services such as a virtual loaner program, factory assistance and education to help its ISVs strengthen their iSeries capabilities. This represents a change from a previous approach of managing one-to-one relationships with large ISVs.

Now, Bingaman said, IBM has opened up the program to thousands of ISVs and 60 tools partners to claim "a no ISV left behind" capability.

In its "tools innovation" program, the Armonk, N.Y. company is promoting a broader portfolio of tools for developers to build applications in Java, RPG, COBOL, or .NET on i5/OS, Linux, AIX and Windows, which the iSeries can run simultaneously thanks to the new Power5 architecture.

The "iSeries innovation" will allow ISVs and other partners to define an iSeries roadmap, instead of being force fed direction. IBM's Innovation program is also strategic, as the company hopes it will gain more market share from Microsoft Windows users.

Partners will also be eligible to receive up to 70 percent discount for co-advertising in over 220 industry magazines around the world to help business partners reach out to customers. IBM, which has contracted several commercials in the last two years, will also boost its own advertising on TV, radio and major newspapers.

"We have to build markets for our partners to sell the iSeries," Bingaman said. To help this, IBM will sponsor a four-page advertisement in the Wall Street Journal on Monday.