IBM unveils spanking tech centre

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IBM Australia has thrown open the doors of a new, multi-million dollar development centre in Sydney to assist business partners and independent software vendors (ISVs)in designing e-business systems.

Called the IBM Technology Centre, the facility is understood to have cost nearly $10 million. It represents the first time IBM in Australia has put all its hardware, software, training and support infrastructure into a single operational facility on behalf of third-party partners.

The centre will employ 10 full-time technical staff, all engaged in projects assisting IBM business partners. The centre provides facilities for porting software to IBM hardware or middleware platforms, benchmarking and performance testing, demonstrations to customers and training, among a range of other things.

IBM Australia software general manager Katrina Troughton said the centre, which is located at the newly built IBM offices in St Leonards on Sydney's North Shore, was designed to drive sales of IBM hardware and software by assisting partners with application sales.

“This is proof, if it was needed, that IBM's core strategy is not in developing applications – it's working with business partners,” Troughton said.

The centre will host IBM-only hardware and software, although the company has similar multi-vendor capability elsewhere in the country.

Its establishment is aimed at driving sales the entire IBM product portfolio through its relationship with business partners, rather than one or the other of hardware or software, Troughton said.

Australian banking software developer Financial Network Services (FNS) has said a large part of its success in winning a recent $26 million deal with Indonesia's largest bank, Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI), had been due to work carried out at the new centre.

FNS had used the IBM Technology Centre to port its banking application to the latest version of the AIX operating system, IBM's flavour of Unix.

IBM Australia chief executive Phil Bullock said the advantage to partners in the new centre is that it “brings under one roof” a variety of IBM support activities.

“Several years ago IBM made the strategic decision to halt development of its own applications in favour of going to market with leading business partners, combining (their) applications with … IBM infrastructure,” Bullock said.

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