IBM's new alliances to boost revenue by $US1B

IBM announced Wednesday new alliances with five application developers that company officials say will bolster revenue by $US1 billion over the next three years.

IBM will partner with:

-- Intentia International AB and Industrial and Financial Systems AB, two Swedish ERP (enterprise resource planning) software vendors;-- IT Design, a Dublin, Ireland-based social services application provider;-- Mincom, a Brisbane, Australia-based transportation application provider; and-- Aspen Technology, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based industrial supply application provider.

The agreements mean the new partners will commit to IBM's server platforms, middleware and services, while Big Blue will assist them with the selling and marketing of their products -- part of IBM's PartnerWorld for Developers initiative.

Bob Timpson, IBM's general manager, developer relations, said the new partnerships continue the company's efforts to forge alliances with developers in a variety of geographic locations and industries. Including Wednesday's deals, IBM has signed 22 alliances worth $7 billion in revenue over three years and Timpson said more are planned in future.

Working with ISVs (independent software vendors) was not always the tradition for IBM, Timpson said.

"Frankly, our competitors do this (partner with developers) very well," he said. "It has been key to their growth. We use to write our own software. We decided last year that wasn't a good idea (for IBM to write application software) and we decided to partner with the industry. We are now winning back from Sun (Microsystems) and Oracle some of the marketplace."

The alliances allow IBM to match its strengths with its partners' strengths, said Nicole Gallant, a software partner and alliance group analyst with market research company International Data Corp. (IDC).

"It makes them (IBM) stronger in new and existing markets," Gallant said. "This is indicative of what companies are doing in the industry as a whole."

During late 1999, IBM forged an alliance with CRM (customer relationship management) software vendor, Siebel Systems. Since that time, IBM also has partnered with such companies as Ariba and i2 Technologies.

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