The success of IBM's rival to Microsoft's Back Office suite, Software Suites for NT, will hinge on acceptance by the application vendor community.
Adam Jollans, IBM European marketing manager for Software on NT, said that IBM had created a sales team dedicated to recruiting ISPs interested in developing applications to sit with NT versions of DB2 and Domino.
"The key for the next six months is to get application vendors on board," he admitted.
IDC program director, Dan Kusnetzky agrees that it is essential to get application vendors on board. "The key question IBM has to answer is how they will help these ISPs make more money? If IBM has a convincing story, the product could be successful. IBM is offering much more choice in its server suite," he said.
The first versions of the NT suites tailored to Enterprise, departmental and medium-sized business are already available and a cut-down small business version will become available next quarter. Version 2.0 of all the suites are presently in alpha trials and are slated for release in the New Year.
Version 2.0 of the software suites will incorporate upcoming releases of Lotus Domino and DB2 for NT. IBM, now the largest Microsoft ISP, is uncertain whether the suites will be based on existing versions of Windows NT operating system and directory services: that depends on Microsoft, said IBM.
Despite past "friction" between the world's two largest software vendors, IBM claims its former rival has backed the development of a competitive product because the IBM suite supports a heterogeneous environment. The Microsoft BackOffice suite only supports NT; IBM offers a common directory across NT, Unix, O/S 400, and Mainframe environments, with interconnectivity between the DB2 databases on the different platforms.
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