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IBM Targets Telcos' Apps Dev Needs

Ray Le Maistre
11/25/2009

IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) has staked its claim as a major applications development partner for carriers by announcing three global service development centers, in China, Malaysia, and South Africa. (See IBM Unveils Apps Dev Centers.)

The centers, based around the IT giant's Service Provider Delivery Environment (SPDE) 3.0 framework, hardware, services, and "business partner applications," aim to help vendors and application developers, as well as carriers, create new services.

IBM's move is part of a rush among the major IT and telecom equipment vendors to position themselves as invaluable applications development partners for the world's communications service providers. For instance, Light Reading revealed yesterday how Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) has developed a hosted service that brings operators and developers together. (See AlcaLu Turns Apps Broker, Telecom Transformers, Amdocs Rallies, Fills SDP Hole , Telcordia: Still a $700M+ Player, and OSS 2.0: Carriers Need to Walk the Walk.)

IBM looks to have built a strong relationship with China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL) already. The IT giant says the mobile operator, which now has more than 513 million customers (including 2.3 million 3G users), is deploying a platform built around IBM's SPDE, data warehouse, and Cognos Business Intelligence software, to help "reduce time-to-market for new products, increase revenue, and improve customer service with end-to-end monitoring and analysis."

In Malaysia, IBM's goal at the Kuala Lumpur-based center is to help service providers "improve customer life cycle management through business intelligence, analytics and service delivery platforms, while reducing cost through increased infrastructure and operational efficiencies."

In South Africa, the Johannesburg center is focused on wireless applications for the healthcare sector that could give staff immediate access to specialists based elsewhere. IBM is holding this up as an example of how a provider can show quick adaptability in creating new services.

Joint French center with Comverse
IBM has also built a facility at its Telecom Solutions Lab at La Gaude (near Nice, France) based specifically on platforms and services from partner Comverse Inc. (Nasdaq: CNSI)

The partners have created a service delivery and OSS/BSS (operations/business support system) environment, underpinned by IBM's server and storage hardware and using Comverse's ONE Billing and Active Customer Management system. This will serve as a proof-of-concept simulation environment for customers to test out new ideas. (See Comverse Unveils Billing, CRM.)

IBM and Comverse announced their partnership in May 2008. (See Comverse, IBM Team Up.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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