IBM has extended its Express portfolio for SMBs, adding a version of Workplace Services Express that lets resellers use a single server with their Java development platform.
Duncan Hewett, channel manager for IBM's software group, said the 2.0 edition of Workplace Services Express should encourage a broader base of ISV and "solution provider" partners to work with IBM.
A simpler approach to managing Java development would help many Australian partners who, due to Australia's relatively small market size, had to work across a range of quite different industries, he said.
"It will [help] ISVs or solution providers in terms of what a client needs in business processes. A collaborative portal all in one place, as opposed to supporting multiple servers for the products," Hewett said. "It's very relevant to the Australian marketplace."
Collaborative components existing in Lotus could be put on a single server with a Java development platform. Lotus partners would more easily be able to start working with Java as well, he said.
Steve Hooper, managing director at Victoria-based Dr Notes Solutions, said the new Express releases were appropriate for SMBs and priced accordingly.
Workplace Services Express was "very nice", he said.
"The 2.0 version, I saw an earlier release of that a couple of months ago. I haven't seen the latest, but I really like it," he said.
Workplace Services Express 2.0 would bring people and the information contained in small businesses together. It would encourage information collaboration and communication for SMB-based users, Hooper said.
IBM first announced the SMB-focused Express portfolio of open standards-based middleware last year at its annual PartnerWorld conference in New Orleans. Releases thus far include hardware, software and services.
All Express offerings are 'Business Partner enabled', meaning that partners can either sell or recommend IBM Express offerings to their customers and receive fees or other compensation from IBM.
Hewett said the Express portfolio was beginning to be well received in Australia.
"As always, our expectations were high. When we started this at the beginning of last year, we didn't see a massive uptake. But it is starting to move through," he said.
More resellers were becoming aware of Express as the offerings gained momentum in the channel, Hewett said.
IBM also released a Lotus Web Conferencing Service and the next edition of IBM WebSphere Portal 5.1, which has an integrated but limited version of Lotus Workplace Web Content Management and improved search and document management capabilities.