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Charting a New Course


Last fall, in his previous role as vice president of marketing and strategy for IBM* Systems and Technology Group, Mark Shearer sat in a room with 80 iSeries* business partners and received input on what the partners felt was lacking for the platform. Their basic message was to work on the iSeries image, increase the number of business solutions available on the platform and improve their business profitability.


Today, as iSeries general manager, Shearer is driving an agenda to build the worldwide presence of the iSeries brand, improve the profit opportunity for partners, and strengthen and extend the iSeries solutions portfolio.


The direction Shearer received from those 80 business partners, along with customer feedback, was the impetus behind the IBM Charter for iSeries Innovation and the iSeries Initiative for Innovation, launched at the IBM PartnerWorld conference in February. The charter documents IBM’s commitment to a sustained, multiyear investment in the iSeries system as a vital and strategic system for On Demand Business—for customers, ISVs and business partners. The iSeries Initiative for Innovation is designed to foster an open, collaborative community to fuel innovation in ISV and business partner solutions on the iSeries platform to deliver more powerful on demand capabilities to their customers.


From all accounts, these initiatives are fulfilling their visions. “In June, I had two meetings with different advisory councils from our business-partner community (the Distributor Advisory Council and Solution Provider Advisory Council), and the feedback was very positive. They are now investing in the iSeries platform and are finding the financial value proposition attractive again. IBM received a lot of credit for executing the programs we told them we would,” says Shearer, who has been with IBM since 1978.


To find out what the IBM Charter for iSeries Innovation and the iSeries Initiative for Innovation mean and why they’re important to iSeries customers, eServer Magazine, iSeries edition sat down with Shearer during a recent visit to Rochester, Minn.


Q: What exactly are the IBM Charter for iSeries Innovation and iSeries Initiative for Innovation? Why should customers care about these initiatives?


A: The IBM Charter for iSeries Innovation solidifies IBM’s long-term commitment to innovation and growth for iSeries customers through partnerships with ISVs and business partners. It is a statement of IBM’s commitment to the industry at large that we will continue to invest in ways that will foster and enable companies to innovate based upon our core iSeries platform and technologies. The heritage of the iSeries system is in products like the AS/400*, System/36* and System/38* platforms. What made these products great was the availability of relevant, industry-specific business solutions for our customers. The charter and the iSeries Initiative for Innovation are intended to keep IBM focused on investing in those areas for many years to come.


The iSeries Initiative for Innovation is about reaching out to the ISV population again, reaching out to tools providers, hardware companies, resellers and systems integrators, and helping them all create solutions that leverage the highly secure, rock-solid iSeries family of systems.


The primary benefit to our customers is the availability of more leading-edge solutions and technologies that strengthen and extend the value proposition of the iSeries platform. It’s as simple as that.



"When you step back and look at it, it's about inspiring the industry to view the iSeries system as a platform for innovation on which build solutions for our mutual customers." - Mark Shearer, iSeries general manager

Evelyn Hoover is the content director of IBM Systems magazine. She can be reached at



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