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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

IBM Gets the Cloud Opportunity, and Cloud Marketing

IBM wants to team with entrepreneurs to build a smarter planet.

Recently, I've read a number of articles asking if the world's biggest tech companies are still capable of innovation. Included in these discussions are companies such as HP, Dell, Microsoft, Cisco, Intel and Motorola, among others. And, of course, Apple -- which almost never ceases to amaze. It appears that Apple is poised to turn another industry on its head with its iPad, but that's another discussion for another day.

Also included in the discussion of the ability of giant tech companies to innovate is none other than IBM, the granddaddy of them all. In my view, this is another company that never ceases to amaze, that continues to generate shareholder value even during the darkest economic times, that is so self-aware to know almost instinctively what it is great at and what it should shed and moves more quickly than many companies one-fifth its size.

This week IBM announced a brilliant program that fosters the birth of new companies, the growth of emerging companies and the fortification of its Smarter Planet focus areas. To me, that's a win-win-win.

Under the "IBM Global Entrepreneur" program, IBM will support entrepreneurs and their early stage startups, free of charge, with access to industry-specific technologies (smarter water, smarter building, smarter healthcare) in a cloud computing environment. The participating companies must be privately held, have been in business for less than three years and must be building tech solutions that map to IBM's Smarter Planet.

In the early stages of the initiative, the company said it will provide cloud computing resources to the startups by way of Amazon's EC2 Platform but will move some of the applications to an IBM-managed cloud computing platform.

And typical to IBM, the company is covering all the bases by working with a bunch of VCs on this venture so that IBM gets connected to the most promising prospects.

"...it's clear that the company is making a concerted effort to bring unique IT solutions to market," said Mike Vizard, writing for CTOEdge.

Who said a company founded in 1896 and with a $166B market cap can't dance? The cloud is bringing out the best in tech innovation, and IBM is a leader in the pack.

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