IBM To Invest $150M In New Innovation Centers

The Innovation Centers allow solution providers, systems integrators and independent software vendors to design and test solutions around IBM hardware and software, as well as the ability to demonstrate solutions for customers.

The initiative will double the number of Innovation Centers, which include several WebSphere Innovation Centers operated by solution providers and distributors. IBM also operates many facilities itself and developed Virtual Innovation Centers for customers, according to the company. IBM plans to use the new centers to demonstrate eServer, TotalStorage and software solutions.

"The significant investment that we are making is a response to the need for collaborative innovation across IBMs' ecosystem of Business Partners, " said Donn Atkins, general manager, of IBM PartnerWorld, in a statement. "IBM is committed to providing its Business Partners with more technical enablement and demand generation resources for IBM technologies, based on the success of our current IBM and Business Partner centers."

IBM announced the initiative Wednesday at its PartnerWorld event in Las Vegas. Since last year, IBM has opened 40 Innovation Centers run by business partners in North America and Europe.

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Distributors Agilysys and Synnex recently opened centers in Atlanta and Toronto, respectively. Distributors Arrow and Avnet also have their own centers.

"These centers have proven to be a valuable resource for our partners in building solutions based on open IBM platforms, enabling our partners to harness their creativity in developing new solutions and exploring new avenues for growth," said Fred Cuen, president of Avnet Partner Solutions, IBM Americas, in a statement.

For IBM hardware Business Partners who meet the required investment criteria for demonstration centers and solution skills, this initiative offers IBM investment incentives and other marketing support to drive incremental revenue, according to IBM.