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ISVs, Service Providers and IBM Z

June 10, 2019

This post is the first in a series that discusses ISVs, service providers, the Dallas ISV Center offerings, PartnerWorld and the IBM Global Solutions Directory. The context for these topics is primarily IBM Z. Although the topics and offerings (in the solutions directory) are much broader than IBM Z, I purposely want to narrow my focus. Let’s get started! 
What are ISVs and Service Providers? 
An ISV is an individual or business that builds, develops and sells consumer or enterprise software. Although end users use ISV-provided software, it remains the property of the vendor. According to Statista, just in the United States alone, there are over 1,560 ISVs. ISV products often fill a niche and can be wonderfully specialized and thus complement the platform they run on in a subtle and useful way. 
A service provider company provides IT services through the application of business and technical expertise. Service providers use their talents to assist organizations in the creation, management and optimization of information and business processes. The IT services market can be segmented by the type of skills that are employed to deliver the service like design, build and run. There are also different categories of service like infrastructure services, application services and business process services. Easy to understand, right?
Solutions and Offerings
Depending on the size and experience of the ISV, they are likely to offer software, support and possibly services. The software will consist of one or more products, but often they will promote a subset of their total software offering through a partner channel. Why a subset? It takes time and money to build and maintain information about your many products, so some ISVs put a few of their products in the solution catalog (like the IBM Global Solutions Directory) to attract customers. They can then share more information about their broader set of software products. What about support and services?
Software must be delivered with support or it isn’t viable, but support can contain a range of elements. Support might cover just defects, but most support today includes items like “how to” documentation and self-paced education. It’s a good idea for software companies to go beyond just defect support and this invariably reduces the strain on support personnel to expand their scope while the customer is on the phone with a situation that’s not a true defect.
Sometimes ISVs have the ability to be service providers as well. It’s very helpful for an ISV to have in-house staff that can work directly with customers in the field. These can be consultants or technical services personnel. Consultants are more at the front-end of the process (strategy, scoping and planning), whereas technical service people install, administer, test and educate. So how many solutions and offering might I find for IBM Z?
There are Many IBM Z ISV Solutions
In the IBM Global Solutions Directory, there are approximately 1,000 ISVs that work with IBM Z. For my search, I selected the latest releases of z/OS, z/TPF, z/VM and z/VSE. When I broaden the search to include the latest releases of Red Hat, SUSE and Ubuntu Linux (for IBM Z), I picked up another 500 offerings. In a future post focused on a deep dive into the directory, I’ll explore the range of IBM Z ISV solutions. 
What’s Next?
Next week, I’ll discuss ISVs and the IBM Dallas ISV Center Offerings. After that, I’ll focus on other topics including IBM Z and PartnerWorld, and the Global Solutions Directory in some detail.  

Posted June 10, 2019| Permalink