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IBM Expands Global R&D Expertise and Innovation Centers in Europe


IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a number of new initiatives aimed at accelerating entrepreneurship across Europe.

As part of today’s news, IBM has launched a new IBM Innovation Center in Dublin, Ireland, and announced plans to open four new IBM Innovation Centers across Europe in Finland, Norway, Switzerland and Denmark. Additionally, IBM is also introducing a range of new sales and marketing resources for start-ups, to help generate new business deals and expand into new geographies.

The new centers are designed to meet the growing demand from European business partners, venture funded organizations and customers looking to harness IBM expertise around open standards technologies such as Service Orientated Architecture (SOA), Web 2.0, 3D Internet, Cell Processor and POWER 6 architecture.

With the introduction of these new centers, IBM will now host a global network of more than 38 Innovation Centers around the world. Since their inception over ten years ago, IBM Innovation Centers have become a key component of IBM’s strategy to help companies build innovative solutions before they expand into new markets. In 2006 alone, more than 6,000 business partners leveraged IBM Innovation Centers worldwide to build and test new solutions.

Growing Network of Global IBM Innovation Centers

The five new IBM Innovation Centers in Europe will offer R&D expertise and customized hands-on support to enable start-ups, software developers, and other small to mid-sized companies create innovative new software and hardware applications. These efforts will provide start-ups an entry-point to IBM’s Research network, accelerating innovation by providing insights into emerging technologies.

According to a recent European Venture Capital report released by Ernst & Young and Dow Jones, IT had the most significant upturn in investments of any industry in Q1’07, totaling EUR 550.2 million of investments in technology start-ups. This represents an increase of EUR 30.1 million in capital investment with software and information services showing the most activity for the sector.(1)

IBM Innovation Centers will also sponsor workshops on SOA, best practices for companies to take advantage of enterprise Web 2.0, and POWER 6 architecture across Europe. Additionally, IBM will also host connection events offering companies unique networking opportunities for business growth.

IBM is also adding a new component to the IBM Innovation Centers efforts that will now provide a well-connected global support network for partners and customers independent of their location. IBM will enhance the global integration network that will now seamlessly connect its 38 worldwide IBM Innovation Centers, giving instant access to top researchers and technical experts for all companies, regardless of their proximity to a Center.

For example, a business partner who requests an engagement with their local IBM Innovation Center in Dublin, Ireland, may learn that the IBM Innovation Center in Dallas, Texas, is better equipped to meet their technical needs. With access to an Internet connection and just a few easy clicks of the mouse, a company will be able to receive hands-on support from their local IBM team while leveraging the technical resources of an IBM Innovation Center halfway around the world.

“These new investments to expand our worldwide IBM Innovation Centers are being led by the demand from our partners for increased expertise in their local regions,” said Jim Corgel, general manager, ISV & Developer Relations. “As the global marketplace continues to expand, IBM is looking to our partners to set the agenda for ensuring that our resources are meeting their specific needs.”

New Global Marketing and Sales Tools

In addition to developing a sought-after application, a company must also market and sell their solution to grow their business. Recognizing the needs of small to mid-sized companies with limited resources and rising competition, IBM is announcing a set of new tools and resources that will allow them tap into IBM’s expansive, global marketing and sales team.

Effective immediately, IBM is equipping business partners with free hands-on support from its marketing and sales experts to help them sell more effectively into vertical industries and geographies. The new resources are designed to deliver personalized guidance to help companies go-to-market, close deals and increase their overall visibility in the marketplace. The new tools available to partners include:

Pipeline Generation - Business partners will have access to a global full-service marketing agency to help engage new business contacts, nurture existing relationships, and identify new business opportunities.
Marketing Resources Managers - A resource, free of charge, designed to enhance the marketing capabilities of a company. Each partner will be assigned a marketing expert to help them build and execute an end-to-end marketing campaign to generate new business opportunities.
IBM Business Partner Event Plus - In an effort to give business partners more exposure in their specific industries, IBM will help partners jointly participate in or co-host major conferences, trade shows, and client meetings.
“As a mid-sized company, we leverage the extensive marketing and sales expertise IBM provides to GigaSpaces Technologies to expand the scope of our sales pipeline,” said Amnon Raviv, senior director, Strategic Alliances, GigaSpaces Technologies. “Beyond the genuine leads these hosted customer meetings have generated, they have also helped to engage our field sales force with prospects, and with the local IBM sales teams.”
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