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WebSphere Innovation Center Opens in the Heart of Downtown Manhattan

WebSphere Innovation Center Opens in the Heart of Downtown Manhattan

Rave Software Solutions opened the first WebSphere Innovation Center (WIC) in New York City. Located in the Information Technology Center Building at 55 Broad Street in the heart of the financial district, the center expects to draw clients from Boston to Philadelphia. The WebSphere Innovation Center is designed to provide important services for resellers and end users, including WebSphere software-based "test drives" on a variety of hardware platforms and operating environments, and proof-of-concept support and technical briefings. This customer-centric showcase will offer a wide range of technology-based solutions for several industry sectors, including financial services. Originally scheduled to open sooner, the Center was set back by the Sept. 11 attacks.

Rave, originally an IBM Lotus Partner, directed their strategy toward WebSphere early on. Their clients craved a hands-on experience and one that allowed Rave to demonstrate the power and possibilities of the WebSphere platform. Stephen Arees, VP of Business Development explained, “It’s hard to get a customer excited about middleware. They don’t tear open the CD and treat it like a Christmas present.” Arees thought that a place to demo the power of WebSphere was greatly needed.

Concurrently, IBM was putting together a similar plan. Mike Colleary, North America Channel Sales, IBM Software, described what he saw as a need to create a customer center that focused on solutions as well as a place to improve Business Partners’ skills. From these thoughts, and based on the experience of IBM’s Customer Centers. the WebSphere Innovation Center was created.

Arees made contact with Greg Williams, the World Wide WIC development manager, and together they built the New York City WIC. The hope is to develop the WIC into an extensive matrix of vertical and cross-industry solutions. The current focus is finance and manufacturing, with the intent to open up pharmaceuticals, HR and e-commerce. Cross-industry applications will be featured as well as developer offerings. Judging by the technological depth and breadth available at the WIC, and the excitement generated by a good turnout of customers and business partners, Mr. Williams has hit a home run.

John Allessio, IBM Software VP, Sales and Marketing, expects the center to shorten the sales cycle for the partner's clients by providing them with firsthand experience of IBM's WebSphere software platform as it pertains to their own specific needs.

Phoenix-based Avnet Inc. expects their involvement will influence WebSphere and MQ awareness as well as assisting their reseller base in closing new and technologically complex business. Rick Hamada, president, North America, Hall-Mark Division, stressed that distribution is no longer linear and Avnet would succeed by making their partners successful. Avnet Hall-Mark recently announced that it would open two WIC facilities in the first quarter of 2002; one facility in San Antonio, Texas, and another in Chandler, Arizona. The Manhattan WIC, however, represents a consortium of resellers. Rave will provide the facilities and hardware, along with e-business consultation. Avnet Hall-Mark will not only provide the necessary product, but is bringing together several of its reseller (VAR) partners in the area to make critical WebSphere skills available at the center.

There are five internal partners for 2002 who will have a daily presence at the WIC. The partners are required to have a skilled representative available to demonstrate their solutions to potential clients and IBM reps.

Rational Software Corporation– www.rational.com In November, IBM announced that Rational ClearCase LT would be included with the IBM WebSphere Studio Application Developer. This provides IBM WebSphere Developers with an out-of-the-box Software Configuration Management (SCM) solution.

Stellent Inc.– www.stellent.com Templates and the browser interface of the Stellent Content Management System allow users to contribute content from applications they are familiar with. Word, Excel, and Dreamweaver files can be converted for publication in Web and wireless formats and integrated with WebSphere Application Server.

IDI – www.idi-middleware.com IDI provides enterprise solutions to the B2B community and provides exclusive OpenVMS training and consulting services to IBM. They offer a variety of middleware products related to IBM’s MQ Solutions.

Trifecta Technologies Incorporated– www.trifecta.com Trifecta, a consulting company, creates online catalogs and integrated e-commerce solutions for major corporations, small, and medium-sized businesses using IBM WebSphere Commerce Suite.

Viecore, Inc. – www.voiceint.com Viecore is a IT consulting and professional services firm focusing on the integration and implementation of financial services, call center, and human resources self-service technologies with legacy systems.

The New York WebSphere Innovation Center is open Monday through Friday by appointment. For more information contact Stephen Arees at 212 857-1848, ext. 201, or e-mail sarees@nycwic.com.

More Stories By Pat Martin

Patti Martin is cofounder of Simplex Knowledge Company, where she is Vice President of Creative Services. She manages the company's Web servers and oversees Web content and creation. Patti received her education at the New School in New York City and has taken continuing education classes at NYU and the School of Visual Arts.

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