IBM Expands SOA Marketing With Partners in Mind
April 20, 2009 Dan Burger
Years ago, IBM chose service oriented architecture (SOA) as its preferred method for customers to reconfigure applications and improve flexibility based on platform and language interoperability. Last week, the IT goliath introduced a sales channel and partnership plan designed to open new markets and help partners compete more effectively. The plan consists of social media tools, education programs, and expanded technologies that are aimed at the SOA market.
Highlighting the social media tools is a feature known as Virtual Forum, which was designed to help partners develop leads. Virtual Forum simulates a trade show, IBM says, by creating a virtual event that includes product booths, advertising, and scheduled chat sessions. IBM partners can use this when making presentations. According to IBM, Web-based resources such as these are capable of effectively communicating with potential customers while reducing the costs of lead-generation campaigns.
One of IBM’s most successful partners, Sirius Computer Solutions, has been an early adopter of Virtual Forum.
Within this marketing package, IBM has also included tools that allow users to follow SOA-relevant activities and participate in SOA communities, as well as a redesigned version of Big Blue’s SOA business catalog that contains more than 23,500 service-based products.
Adding to the virtual team collaboration are educational programs that can evaluate scenarios such as supply chain models, transportation planning and shipment execution based on traffic flows, and call center environments. IBM says the tool brings visualization to business process management removing some of the mystery that exists in the minds of potential customers.
IBM is also expanding its portfolio of industry-specific solutions to include the Insurance Process Acceleration (IPA) Framework and the Network Computing Operations (NCO) Framework. This will allow IBM partners to validate their applications on these frameworks.
Other collaboration helpers include Web sites focused on specific SOA software projects, development activities, and user group communities; updates to the SOA sandbox; and a series of events, to help partners deliver the SOA story to their customers.
New financing options designed for customers acquiring SOA solutions are also being introduced.
IBM claims more than 7,000 SOA implementations at customer sites worldwide, as well as 120,000 architects and developers. It also says it has7,420 business partners building SOA solutions.