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WebSphere Leads Business Transformation with On-Demand Platform

WebSphere Leads Business Transformation with On-Demand Platform

Jocelyne Attal is IBM's chief marketing executive for WebSphere, the leading software platform for e-business on demand. Attal focuses on the WebSphere e-business platform, which includes WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Studio development environment, WebSphere Business Integration, and WebSphere Portal, as well as wireless, commerce, host access, and voice solutions. Under Attal's marketing leadership, WebSphere has become one of the most successful and recognized business software brands.

Having celebrated its fifth anniversary in June, the WebSphere family of products holds the top spot in market share for the application server, portal, and integration markets. Attal, who is a member of the leadership team for IBM's e-business on-demand strategic initiative, recently discussed WebSphere's role in the on-demand environment, and specifically how WebSphere products address the integration, virtualization, and automation aspects of the on-demand environment.

Q: On April 30th IBM announced the next steps in the e-business and on-demand initiatives. Where does WebSphere fit into the on-demand environment?
Jocelyne Attal: E-business on demand is a state of business. On April 30th we announced how we enable business transformation, allowing companies to achieve this state of business through the on-demand operating environment with the capabilities of integration, virtualization, and automation. IBM software, with WebSphere as its core component, provides proven technology customers can use to create and run an on-demand operating environment. WebSphere is designed to enable first, integration of people, process, and information across and beyond the enterprise; second, expanded access to computing resources on demand; third, dynamic building and deployment of new business services that leverage existing business assets.

Q: Please elaborate on the on-demand integration, virtualization, and automation activities and how WebSphere products address these areas.
JA: Integration refers to the integration of people and processes, allowing customers to access any information or application from any device over any network. Elements of this include collaboration, transaction processes, information management, and pervasive computing.

At the core of the on-demand integration capability is WebSphere, which enables integration of applications and automation of business processes, and WebSphere Business Portals, which enable integration of people via collaboration, and integrate access to mission-critical information and business processes.

Virtualization allows the automated consolidation and pooling of resources by creating a logical view of IT assets - including servers, storage, networks, and distributed systems - and virtualizing them in order to better allocate workload and safeguards. WebSphere is at the heart of virtualization because it offers customers the ability to balance workloads and allocate resources on demand for WebSphere business applications with the WebSphere Application Server, delivering clustering capabilities that provide a virtualized, highly scalable, distributed transaction engine.

Automation encompasses availability, security, optimization, and provisioning. For this capability, WebSphere offerings are closely aligned with IBM Tivoli offerings to enable high availability and easy provisioning, all with high levels of security. In addition, WebSphere offers profiling and tuning tools.

Q: How do ISVs fit into the e-business on demand operating environment?
JA: Our top priority is working with the IBM partner ecosystem, which includes the ISV community, to make the on-demand operating environment real for customers. We must partner closely with both large and small ISVs to embed the core capabilities of the operating environment into their applications and industry-specific solutions.

The Developer Relations organization is currently working with 150 ISVs to help them understand the benefits of on-demand computing. For WebSphere ISVs, we have been extremely successful with WebSphere Application Server - Express and our WebSphere Portal - Express and are on track in the registration of our developer program.

Q: What are the direct benefits of e-business on demand for ISVs?
JA: The direct benefits of on demand for ISVs are flexibility, simplification of solution development, and process efficiencies. The IBM on-demand operating environment provides ISVs with a flexible infrastructure because it is based on open standards. The ISVs benefit from building on a strategic, heterogeneous platform that meets the needs of more customers and allows them to enter new markets. Customers will look for an infrastructure that won't lock them up in one model, and this is very important. With on demand, the ISV is offering the customer a set of integrated technologies and capabilities that are flexible, allow end-to-end management, are based on open standards, and are extremely scalable and resilient.

On demand also benefits ISVs because it allows for the simplification of solutions development and integration of their business processes and applications. We are working on a single development platform within IBM that combines the software brands - WebSphere, Rational, Tivoli, DB2, and Lotus - and provides the best tools across the operating environment. Shared components will be implemented in everything we're doing.

The ISVs will realize process efficiencies as well as market flexibility as technology advances evolve in the operating environment, allowing them to seamlessly upgrade their products and solutions to take advantage of new on-demand functionality. ISVs that adopt and build on the on-demand model will provide their customers with next-generation solutions that offer benefits such as reduced costs, improved asset utilization, and the ability to reinvest in new business opportunities.

Q: What are the direct benefits to customers of ISVs?
JA: Customers are facing challenges in the business environment. They have to adapt to changes and at the same time have to continue to invest, grow, and be competitive. They have to look at their processes and make changes, minor and major. They have to become on-demand businesses to respond to an on-demand environment. In order to do that, they need to go through a business transformation. For this we have aligned this integration of the different components for the on-demand operating environment with their business processes and their business policies - not the opposite. This is the number one advantage. With on demand, the customer gets a set of integrated components and capabilities that are extremely resilient, extremely flexible, and based on open standards.

Q: What WebSphere-specific programs are currently available to help ISVs enable on the WebSphere platform?
JA: We work directly with Developer Relations, along with the PartnerWorld program, which provides a comprehensive program to address ISV needs, including technical and sales enablement, go-to-market activity, and recognition. Our main objective is to provide the technical content our ISVs are looking for during the deployment of an application. Through PartnerWorld we have a high-volume, Web-based enablement component specifically focused on the midmarket. This gives ISVs access to free education, technical support, and porting assistance for our midmarket products such as WebSphere Application Server - Express and WebSphere Portal - Express. For in-person technical support we work with the IBM Solution Partnership Centers worldwide.

Because we are number one in application servers, integration, and business portals, we are in a good position to help our ISVs gain market exposure through the high market awareness of our brand, and we are, in fact, making this awareness more real through a program called Powered by WebSphere. The Powered by WebSphere Mark allows our partners to associate their solutions with an IBM logo that signifies quality.

Also, the ISVs get marketing and sales support from the IBM Business Partner WebSphere Innovation Centers located around the world, and can access many marketing tools online at www.ibm.com/websphere/businesspartners.

Q: How are you working with the new IBM software brand, Rational?
JA: The IBM goal is not to simply produce complementary tools from WebSphere and Rational. We are creating a well-integrated set of tools that addresses the full life cycle of software development - from modeling and design through coding and testing to quality assurance and deployment to environments like the WebSphere Application Server and pervasive and embedded devices. IBM WebSphere started working with Rational more than three years ago on the Eclipse project. Together, we helped create a new market for Eclipse software tools that now involves more than 150 vendors and has produced software used by millions of developers. Now that they are part of the IBM company, the WebSphere and Rational teams are working more closely than ever to ensure that the Rational tools that help minimize software development risk augment the extendable, multiplatform, and standards-based application development tools for WebSphere.

More Stories By WebSphere News Desk

WebSphere Journal News Desk trawls the world of e-commerce technologies for news and innovations and presents IT professionals with updates on technology trends, products, and services in the WebSphere family.

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