IBM Trumpets Channel Program For Jazz Platform


IBM Rational Software, which is holding its annual development conference in Orlando this week, also unveiled some 20 products from IBM and development partners built around the Jazz technology. Jazz, developed by IBM Rational and IBM Research and released last year, is designed to provide next-generation tools for real-time collaborative software development by geographically dispersed development teams.

"We think Jazz will be as transformational for software development as Eclipse has been," said Scott Hebner, Rational's vice president of strategy and market, referring to IBM's open-source development platform for integrating development tools at the desktop.

The free partner program, called Ensemble, offers technical assistance and a network of sale and marketing services to help channel partners build a business around Jazz. Ensemble includes demand generation services and connects partners to IBM Rational sales representatives. A Web portal provides links to sales and marketing resources for Jazz products and educational events. The online "Grow Your Business With IBM Software" tool, for example, automatically recommends IBM Rational product cross-sell scenarios for partners. Ensemble also offers content syndication services that partners can use to get articles and content they create about Jazz picked up by Internet search engines.

"What's key about this program is that we're not just providing [technical] support to build the products, we're providing the support to market and sell them," Hebner said in an interview. Last year some 1,000 business partners re-sold IBM Rational products or handled fulfillment.

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"The channel is becoming increasingly important to us and our customers and it's growing at a significant rate," Hebner said. "They provide added value and specialization to our platform." He expected some 500 partners to get involved in Ensemble over the next 18 months.

"We've seen a very dramatic shift in their support of the business partner community," said Gregg Bjork, CEO of Weblayers, a Cambridge, Mass.-based supplier of IT asset policy management and governance tools, speaking of IBM Rational's embrace of the channel. Bjork expects to join the Ensemble program which he said will help partners share best practices in technology areas such as integration and even co-operate with other partners to develop joint solutions. "There's potentially some complementary solutions we could bring to market," he said.

IBM also announced some 20 development products incorporating Jazz technology that will be available by the end of this year. From IBM Rational those products include new releases of Rational Team Concert Express and Rational Team Concert Standard Edition, Rational ClearCase, Rational ClearQuest, Rational BuildForge and Rational Requirements Composer. Third-party companies debuting Jazz-infused products include Black Duck Software, CAST Software, CM-Logic, iRise, Mainsoft, QSM, Ravenflow, SourceIQ, Surgient, VMlogix and WebLayers.