IBM has already signed seven Australian ISVs to a ground-breaking partner program in which it will invest tens of millions of dollars, ARN has learnt.
The developers will receive much appreciated technical and marketing support, potentially worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, from IBM, and will have their applications taken to the worldwide market.
The ISV Mission program is designed for developers who base their software on IBM's middleware platform. It expects to add at least 300 partners worldwide to the Mission program by year's end. According to Steven Solazzo, who heads up IBM's ISV Mission, the program is not restricted to current IBM partners and is open to any developer who is considering building applications for IBM's middleware platform.
"We haven't really managed software as a business before now, but within the software group, we have all of the middleware products and have developed or acquired a range of applications."
ISV Mission appointee FishTech and Partners signed an 18-month ISV agreement in June for its message broking software, Enterprise Integrator. According to managing director Nick Fish, his product is unique in that it incorporates IBM's MQ Integrator to link the groupware world to the non-groupware world.
"The potential with our ISV agreement is for Enterprise Integrator to be in the kit of every Best Team member and Lotus Business Partner in the world," Fish said.
David Millward, the managing director of Australian organisation Arrow Research, is one of the recruits IBM has snapped up to foster the Mission.
"The program has not only helped bring our financial software package, ArrowNet, into the Web-enabled e-business realm, it has allowed our company to hitchhike on the back of IBM's international marketing presence," Millward said.
Another early partner is Mega-tec, which develops MarketEdge, an end-to-end data warehousing business solution based on IBM's DB2 Universal Database, Visual Warehouse and DB2/OLAP Server.
According to Kim Walker, Megatec's strategic marketing manager: "We add value to IBM product which provides a solution to companies wanting to run customer-based marketing campaigns."
Solazzo, who is also IBM Software Group's vice president, solution developers and small/growing businesses, said that about a year and a half ago, IBM started working with selected application partners to see how well they received its proposal for them to build their applications on IBM middleware. Today, the worldwide ISV strategy involves a team of about 150 people within the software group.
The key is in finding application providers that are unique either in their industry or their application set. Of particular interest to IBM are areas such as customer relationship and supply chain management systems, ERP and business intelligence.