IBM Philippines is set to provide funds for local independent software vendors (ISVs) as part of the company's initiatives for the small and medium enterprise (SME) market here.
Erik Elzerman, general manager of IBM Software in ASEAN/South Asia, said the fund will help ISVs enable their businesses using the IBM framework.
"This is not an equity investment, because we don't want to compete with our partners," said Elzerman. "It is money to assist them in using IBM technologies, which will involve hardware, software solutions and training for their people."
Elzerman said IBM will have a set of criteria in choosing ISVs for the funding program. "It is much like what a venture capital company does before it releases funds," he said.
He said the first requirement is that the software company needs to be a local one. "We will also look at an ISV's marketing strategies, its board members as well as how it differentiates itself from other players," Elzerman said.
IBM has also announced relevant product bundles for SMEs and provided initiatives for its value-added distributors to educate the market on its e-business hardware, software and services.
Elzerman added that all these serve to strengthen IBM's bid on middleware. "The company has moved out of the application area or the top layer to respond to the needs of the market, and we see middleware playing a vital role in this ongoing business transformation and integration."
He noted that IBM is very much involved in e-business and can meet all the major requirements of companies through partnerships with different application providers.
IBM has a two-pronged approach, Elzerman said, in promoting middleware in the local market. "One, we are talking to large corporations about the importance of middleware and infrastructure in extending their business capabilities."
The other is working with local ISVs as well as IBM resellers to educate the market about the concept of middleware. "Middleware and infrastructure are both a lucrative market for us where we can readily deliver solutions and services," Elzerman said.
The company is also gearing up offerings for local application service providers (ASPs). Elzerman said that ASPs will also receive hardware financing through IBM Global Financing, as well as software bundles and services from IBM Global Services.
"Again, this is not from the acquisition point of view. This is on a shared risk and shared reward approach. IBM will provide them assistance until they are up and running," he said.