"The iSeries has struggled on and off for the last few years," says Peter Bingaman, VP of IBM's eServer iSeries. "This initiative is a clear signal that we're aggressively putting ourselves back in the game. We're seeing momentum by reconnecting with software developers who had previously thought we had abandoned them."
IBM launched the iSeries Initiative for Innovation in February, which is targeted at increasing the contribution of software and tools vendors that target midmarket applications and customers.
In the past, IBM concentrated efforts too heavily on large business accounts and a handful of application and tools vendors, says Joyce Bordash, director of channel marketing for the iSeries. "There had been a natural migration to 'bigger is better'," she says. "But we need the guys making that application for the shoe stores just as much as SAP and Oracle."
IBM will invest about $125 million this year in support of developers of software and tools for the midmarket, Bingaman says.
To date, IBM has worked with more than 1,600 software providers to see what was needed to move their applications to the iSeries, and nearly 300 have requested a free detailed analysis to help them develop a plan to port their applications to iSeries servers. An additional 16 new Linux software vendors are now supporting the iSeries, more than 1,100 software developers have enrolled in IBM PartnerWorld Industry Networks, and about 150 new co-marketing agreements have been signed.
The Tools Innovation Program now includes 78 tools partners, and 126 products have been enhanced, Bingaman says.
IBM also will host industry workshops over the coming year, starting with a two-day event targeted at the wholesale industry scheduled July 12-13 in Rochester, Minn. Other industry-specific events will be held in locations around the world, Bingaman says.