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Web services marketing manager tries to sell the dream

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The current recession is music to the ears of IBM's Web services marketing manager, Siva Darivemula. "The recession could help our e-services because companies are looking at cost-cutting," he told us in a flying visit to the UK.

Siva reckons that for everyone dollar you spend on Web services kit (from IBM of course), you can expect to save $1.50. The advantages are the same as ever: greater integration of services and databases, improving efficiency, increased flexibility.

A case study is rolled out to illustrate the point. We'd be told of other companies at some point but be sure that IBM is working with everyone who's anyone. IBM's the best choice for e-business of course.

It works behind standards and works with the leaders in each market although "not all our efforts are going to be open source". IBM does have two advantages over Microsoft's .Net vision though: IBM covers the whole kit and caboodle - from servers to middleware to software and it works with a big number of other people's applications.

Not that IBM is going to be nice about it. The latest version of its WebSphere application server has many new functions, Siva tells us by way of explaining how the market is still evolving. One of them, however, is its closer integration with IBM's Domino server. And then there's the fact WebSphere is also bundled with the new i-server for small businesses. IBM has clearly picked up a few tricks from its former pupil Microsoft.

No one can accuse Siva of being a visionary though. Repeated questions over the future of Web services and the role of IBM products in that eventually yielded two answers: greater security and greater speed.

The market will be worth £15.4 billion by 2003, says Gartner, and IBM wants a good chunk of that, Siva tells us. Although not how much IBM expects to make from it. Sometimes companies call up IBM and other times IBM approaches companies. The whole company's resources are behind the Web services arm. Integrating the Internet will give a company flexibility. Many companies are doing that internally anyway. You need the flexibility to make integration easier. ®

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