IBM Opens App Services Center in Michigan, Support Center in Iowa
January 26, 2009 Timothy Prickett Morgan
While IBM has been making layoffs around the United States and Japan, and perhaps all around the world for all we know, two Big Ten states here in America at least got some good news recently from Big Blue.
The state government of Michigan, which is reeling from the latest pop in a 35-year implosion of the indigenous car market, has worked out a deal with IBM to plunk a global delivery center for application services in the East Lansing campus of Michigan State University. (Penn State, 49; MSU, 18) The center is, according to IBM, the first of its kind in the United States built by IBM (which begs the question about how many are already located in India and China), and will be used to modernize legacy applications used by state and local governments as well as colleges and universities, which have some of the crustiest systems and cruftiest software around. IBM and MSU are planning to expand out to help modernize IT systems at companies based in the U.S. in the healthcare, telecommunication, and other industries.
Presumably, IBM is getting some political heat to source its projects back here in the good ole USA, or this work would still be done elsewhere. While Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm was obviously pleased with the center being set up in East Lansing, since it is expected to create 100 new, direct jobs by this June and about 1,500 indirect jobs in the next five years. (They did not elaborate on how much business they expect the application modernization delivery center to do, or what platforms they would be working on, but mainframes and AS/400s will play a big part given their use in those industry sectors.) IBM says that students that study computer science, supply chain, and engineering at MSU will be candidates for employment at the facility, which closes the loop and keeps people spending money in East Lansing. The operation will, in fact, be located in the MSU Federal Credit Union offices.
The good people of Iowa also got some good news from Big Blue, which is going to put a tech support center in an old department store in downtown Dubuque. (Penn State, 23; Iowa, 24, and I am still convinced this was true only because Iowa had heaters on the sidelines and the Nittany Lions did not. Next year, I will use one of my paychecks to send the boys from Central PA some butane heaters at away games, if I have to.) Like the MSU facility, the one in Dubuque, which doesn’t have a Big Ten campus (but has a University of Wisconsin campus 20 minutes away), will be used to support U.S.-based companies, mainly for hardware, software, and security tech support. IBM expects to grow the facility to have around 1,300 employees within the next two years.