IBM Pushes Cloud Computing Collaboration

IBM has launched an initiative that offers up a mix of on-premise and cloud computing
applications to help its ISVs and partners offer those services to customers.

The idea, IBM officials said, is to extend the company’s traditional software delivery
model toward a mix of on-premise and cloud computing applications with new software,
services and technical resources.

“Capital and access to capital used to be a problem for small businesses, and it’s a
big problem now,” Sean Poulley, IBM’s vice president, online collaboration services, told In such a tight market, businesses “will see a lot of utility”
in being able to buy subscription services and thus hold off capital expenditures, he

The goal is to help partners design, build, deliver and market those cloud services,
sold as subscriptions. It also comes with some services from IBM. Through 2009, the
company’s clients and partners will be able to call on cloud services specialists through
its worldwide network of 13 cloud computing centers and 40 IBM Innovation Centers to help
test applications that reside “in the cloud.”

IBM’s new cloud services are focused around
and include a free open beta for Bluehouse, a social networking and
collaboration cloud service designed to connect people from different businesses.

Bluehouse, unveiled in January, is a software as a service (SaaS) (define)

version of Lotus Connections
. Connections, unveiled as part of IBM’s revamped Web 2.0 platform
in January, was itself a revamped version of the vendor’s enterprise-oriented social
networking software.

Jazzing Up the Workspace

Essentially, the IBM cloud services deliver up a workspace. Not a new idea, but one
that’s been refined to include Web conferencing and document sharing, IBM’s Poulley said.
“It’s like the iPod compared to other MP3 players, it puts their capabilities together in
an elegant, easy to use way,” he added.

BlueHouse differs from professional social network
because it lets you own your data. “On LinkedIn, you don’t own your personal
identity, and, from our point of view, the network we build up for you isn’t our network,
it’s yours,” Poulley said. “You paid for it and you own your identity.”

Ultimately, though, it all comes down to business. “We’re leaning very heavily into
collaboration and BlueHouse because 25 to 30 percent of the entire market opportunity is
around collaboration and it is, without doubt, the largest segment and growing at a very
high compound growth rate across the board.”

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