RealTime IT News

IBM Invents SOP

IBM  is turning the notion of SOA  on its head.

The Armonk, NY-based software and services vendor is unveiling a new approach to the services market today, inaugurating the Integrated Communications Services unit.

The unit will offer service-oriented products that are asset-based, replicable and standardized.

The unit is offering a pair of network and communication service products, network convergence services and IP telephony.

Network convergence services is intended to help customers analyze their readiness for communication networks that support data, voice and video.

Big Blue would then help clients design, deploy and manage converged networks that can take advantage of unified messaging, IP contact call center technology, voice, video and Web conferencing and other aspects of converged networks.

The other offering, IP telephony services, is intended to help customers design, deploy and manage IP telephony infrastructure solutions that can reduce the costs associated with managing and maintaining separate voice and data equipment and networks.

These are just the first in a series of expected announcements for this unit.

Marisa Viveros, worldwide director of converged communications at IBM, explained that the new products are the first step in IBM's strategy to deliver traditional labor-based technology services in a manner more similar to the delivery of technology products.

IBM believes that this will result in a more consistent experience for its customers and more sales of its software products with less effort.

"It means economies of scale for us. We can also train and educate practitioners in the field with a common set of methodologies," Viveros told internetnews.com.

"We're taking our best innovations and packaging them in a very standardized manner and making them available to our practitioners around the world," she added.

The company is seeing that many of its customers have become global and now require solutions that work in a consistent manner around the world.

"Clients are asking for a complete solution -- they don't want point solutions, and they need to have a common infrastructure so the customer can deploy their business applications throughout the world," said Viveros.

Bob Djurdjevic, principal analyst with Annex Research, said the packaging of these services as products benefits both IBM and its customers, because it allows customers to implement the solutions more quickly and allows IBM to generate huge economies of scale.

"This is about taking a set of services that had been done previously on a custom basis and putting them together in a package that they can sell to a lot of other customers," he told internetnews.com.

"This is a ground-shifting announcement that changes the rules in the IT services market," he said.

He added that IBM has a huge advantage because of the wealth of assets in its software portfolio that it can transform into services.

The company can thus offer customers choices from an entire array of products, allowing them to customize solutions to their own environments.

According to Djurdjevic, only HP  and Fujitsu are likely to have the assets to match IBM head-to-head, leaving the smaller players to try and compete in narrow niches.