IBM has launched itself into the application service provider market with the announcement last week of two new initiatives, ASP Prime Support for Developers and PartnerWorld for Service Providers.
Jules Fornarino, general manager of IBM's communication sector in Australia and New Zealand, said hardware, software and services were the three prongs of IBM's approach to the ASP market, in which applications are leased over the Web.
"Working with independent software vendors (ISVs) and solutions providers is the third leg of the trifecta," Fornarino said. "Without the applications you don't have a product."
ASP Prime is a support initiative to give solution developers and ISVs a head start in the ASP race, by helping them to enable their applications for Web hosting.
The program offers developers educational seminars, technical information resources and consulting services at solution centres in Sydney and around the world.
ASP Prime will work in tandem with PartnerWorld, a business partner program for service providers.
Enterprise solutions provider Solution 6 is the first member of PartnerWorld, which includes a roadmap to help assess the reliability of the service provider's hosting environment, as well as sales and technical support.
Kent Duston, general manger of Solution 6's ASP services, said the decision to partner with IBM wasn't made lightly.
"We chose IBM because it has the global sales presence and marketing reach to enable us to deliver a large-scale, successful, global ASP business," Duston said.
IBM's Fornarino said the company was excited about the enormous potential of the emerging ASP market and determined not to miss the boat.
"We feel like a startup in this industry," Fornarino said.
"We're moving with urgency and we're focused on short-term execution. It's a market that's growing at 50 per cent per annum, so it's not an option for us to sit on the fence."