IBM announced Tuesday the expansion of its existing partnership with supply chain management software provider International Business Systems (IBS).
The alliance allows the Stockholm, Sweden-based IBS to optimize its core ASW Suite and Virtual Enterprise supply chain applications with IBM WebSphere Application Server and WebSphere Application Server Express, as well as with DB2 and Lotus Domino.
"We're pretty excited," said Leslie Givens, IBM program director for ISB and developer relations. "We already have a number of strategic alliances…and the focus is not only to find new alliances, but to strengthen existing ones."
As a result of the expansion, IBS will also promote the iSeries and xSeries platform, in addition to IBM's middleware, as its core technologies.
Expanding relationships with its ISVs is part of IBM's overall strategy to support small- to medium-sized businesses (SMB). Last year, IBM launched the ISV Advantage initiative to provide midmarket ISVs, including those serving the iSeries space, with technical and marketing support to help meet the specific needs of SMB customers.
Since then, the company has announced a major expansion of the program, which now includes vertical markets and programs with ISVs to promote Linux and WebSphere, as well as its other software platforms.
According to Stephen O'Grady, an analyst with RedMonk, Bath, Maine, this expanded alliance is a simple supply chain management (SCM) channel play by IBM.
IBM has, in fact, been strengthening its supply chain offerings. Just last month, IBM announced that it would purchase privately-held Trigo Technologies Inc., a supplier of data synchronization software that's used to streamline supply-chain operations.
"Despite the fact that IBM doesn't have application ambitions, they still need to satisfy customer requirements, and certainly SCM is one of those requirements," O'Grady said. "IBS essentially can drive revenue for IBM by standardizing on its platform infrastructure software-wise and promote its hardware; in return, IBS can benefit from IBM's marketing arm.
"The fact we're expanding is a contribution to both IBM and IBS," Givens said, adding that the internationally established IBS, with its more than 5,000 customers worldwide, will be combined with IBM's own global worldwide sales force. IBS will also work closely with IBM Global Solutions and Global Financing in select marketing and sales activities.
Givens said that IBM will have dedicated consultants to support all aspects of application support, testing, optimization, tuning and development activities. These consultants were an existing part of the strategic alliance between the two companies, and will now take on a more specific role under the expansion.
Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Jack Loftus, News Writer