18 February 2002 Sam Palmisano, recently named as CEO-elect at systems and services giant IBM, has pinpointed web services and the small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as vital to the company’s future revenue growth.
The company’s web services drive follows in the footsteps of recent announcements by IBM’s competitors Microsoft, Oracle and Sun Microsystems — most notably, Microsoft’s release of its integrated development environment for web services, VisualStudio.Net, in mid-February 2002.
As part of its challenge, IBM is to unveil its Web Services on WebSphere (WOW) program for its partners later this week. The idea behind WOW is to supply IBM’s partners and software providers with technical resources to help them bring web services to market more quickly.
Also, to reinforce its SME message, IBM signed a partnership deal with Sweden’s mid-market enterprise resource planning (ERP) software supplier Navision on 15 February. Navision will deliver its flagship ERP suite Attain on IBM’s mid-range mainframe server eServer iSeries. As part of the agreement, both companies will develop and market an iSeries offering to run Attain software alongside email, calendar and collaborative online applications, say IBM company executives.
This is just one of many initiatives IBM is taking to address the SME market, which according to market research company Gartner is spending more freely on technology than the enterprise market. At the same time, IBM is also introduced a new low-cost, entry-level mainframe, the z800, to stir enthusiasm for its technology among the SMEs.