RealTime IT News

IBM Steps Up SOA Effort For Partners

IBM is taking service-oriented architecture (SOA) to its channel partners, hoping to find more placement for its distributed computing technologies in small- to medium-sized businesses.

The company today expanded its SOA arsenal at PartnerWorld in Las Vegas, padding its portfolio for the more than 1,200 partners in its SOA partner program, which includes Oracle, Lawson, Accenture and Deloitte & Touche.

SOAs help enterprises whittle down their often bloated business processes, allowing them to reuse software and other assets to get more bang for their IT buck. This is important at a time when CIOs are forced to rein in spending.

Sandy Carter, vice president of WebSphere for IBM's software group, said in an interview that 2006 will be the year of the channels for SOA.

"What we're trying to do for them is take away the heavy lifting so that they can focus on innovation with their customers," Carter said.

Therefore, Carter said, IBM is launching its SOA Business Central as a federated catalog of IBM and SOA software services developed by business partners.

SOA Business Central will include the upcoming WebSphere Registry and Repository for SOA Governance software product. Customers will be able to search, download and install services from the catalog, which will include utilities for the publication, subscription, management and policy enforcement of SOA services and assets.

IBM is opening the WebSphere Registry's application program interfaces (APIs) to allow their software assets to be catalogued and stored in the repository when it becomes available later this year.

SOA Business Central will include more than 3,000 SOA services, software adapters and intellectual property. The expanded partner outreach includes new software.

IBM today also debuted new Solution Builder Express (SBE) SOA offerings, which partners can use to develop repeatable solutions that address specific business problems in an SOA.

The new Rapid Foundation for Application Infrastructure SBE is based on WebSphere Application Server and Rational Application Developer to help customers improve operational efficiency and reduce management costs.

The Sync Applications and Data SBE is based on WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus and WebSphere Integration Developer. This tool is designed to improve office worker productivity.

The Collaborative Workplace SBE, based on Workplace Services Express, simplifies the way employees access information. Lastly, the Process Integration SBE is based on WebSphere Business Integration Server Express and helps small businesses keep customers.

To help partners react to market changes to keep up with rivals, IBM introduced the SOA Value Assessment Tool.

Based on data from thousands of IBM SOA customers, the tool allows business partners to work with customers to identify business problems and recommend the correct WebSphere-based software to solve the problem and project.

Carter said the new offerings should help IBM expand its leadership position in the SOA market, where BEA, Sun Microsystems, Oracle, SAP and Microsoft are all vying for market share.