Application Enablement Program detailed

IBM Corp. appears to be wasting little time moving its recently announced on-demand computing strategy forward, as the company detailed on Thursday a program that permits software developers to adapt their applications so they can be offered as Internet-based services.

The Application Enablement Program allows for applications to be hosted on existing infrastructure, namely IBM’s 150 data centres worldwide, where company officials believe those economies of scale make it more feasible for users to customize and integrate their applications as needed.

IBM Global Services will host the applications, and its network of software partners will deliver them on demand over the network through a range of different licensing models. The customization and integration of the application can be provided for by either the software vendor or IBM Business Consulting Services, company officials said.

IBM will also offer a number of hosting options that will provide access to an infrastructure designed to accommodate on-demand needs. Once an application is enabled, IBM’s hosting model will not restrict a customer’s ability to customize and integrate their application, a company spokesperson explained

Each customer can have a dedicated, customized instance of a vendor’s software or, if the application allows, can share the same instance. Customization and integration of the application can be provided by either the software vendor or IBM Business Consulting Services, company officials said.

Those IBM software partners who complete the Application Enablement Program become eligible to take advantage of IBM’s new infrastructure on-demand solutions that are intended to lower the costs of software implementations.

In a related announcement, IBM announced it has signed Adexa, which delivers solutions that synchronize corporate planning with operations planning; Entrust, an Internet security provider; and MRO Software, a provider of asset management solutions, to the new program.

“We think the program broadens our relationship with IBM as well as expands our market reach and offers our customers additional deployment alternatives,” said David Rothberg, vice-president, consulting partners, MRO Software. “By offering Maximo as a hosted solution, we think customers can more quickly realize the benefits of our asset management applications.”

Market researcher IDC recently issued a report that stated that the software-as-a-service market will be worth some US$16.5 billion worldwide by 2006.