Malaysian ISV rides on IBM testbed

Independent software vendor Profitera says it achieved significant savings by leveraging IBM's test facility in the country, skirting the high cost of software testing and development.
Written by Edwin Yapp, Contributor

PETALING JAYA--Malaysia-based independent software vendors (ISV) Profitera sidestepped a myriad of business and technical challenges when it turned to computing giant IBM for leverage on software testing and development.

KeshMahinder Singh, founder and chief executive of Profitera, said Big Blue's Innovation Center in Malaysia helped his company gained quantifiable advantages, which he would not have experienced otherwise.

"With [the center], a local ISV like us can gain access to hardware, software test tools, deep access to research and development expertise, and the IBM knowledge base--all for free," KeshMahinder told ZDNet Asia, on the sidelines of a media briefing Wednesday. Profitera, an ISV specializing in revenue collections and debt recovery management software, is headquartered in Malaysia and has offices in United States and Singapore.

Officially opened in October last year, the Malaysian IBM Innovation Center (IIC)--costing over US$3 million--is the sixth of such facilities in the Asia-Pacific region, and one of 33 around the world. The other innovation centers in the region are located in Bangalore, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney and Tokyo.

It provides the IT vendor's ISV partners access to in-depth IBM skills and cross-platform test environments aimed at helping them design, implement, port and test their software applications.

Since the opening of the IIC, KeshMahinder said Profitera has enjoyed significant cost savings from the use of its tools and services. "If we had to test our applications in a [Microsoft] Windows environment, we would need to invest in two four-CPU Intel [servers] and all the associated [software] licenses just to power the application server and the database server," he explained.

"And if testing were conducted on IBM X-Series servers, it would cost a minimum of 250,000 ringgit (US$72,050). The cost would jump three- to four-fold if these procedures were to be replicated in Linux, Unix and [IBM's] AIX environments," he said. "With the IIC, we would not need to bear the cost of having to invest in hardware and software that will only be periodically used, and that become obsolete only after a short time."

KeshMahinder added that apart from gaining access to the knowledge base and the use of the IIC, Profitera also benefited from IBM's extensive business networking contacts.

"As a niche player in the debt recovery segment, we need to establish a regional presence as we cannot merely depend on the Malaysian market," he said. "Through our alliance with IBM, we gained direct access to its various account representatives around the region who understand their respective markets and can put us in touch directly with customers."

In fact, KeshMahinder revealed, Profitera was able to tap on this particular advantage when the company pitched its products and services to a potential customer, Jakarta, Indonesia-based Bank Mandari.

Charles Manuel, IBM's regional manager for ISV and developer relations, said Big Blue also provides the IIC's facilities to partners in the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore, in industry segments that include banking, insurance, manufacturing and healthcare.

"IBM has invested close to US$1 billion worldwide in its partner organization and ISV program, which includes program development and execution," Manuel said. "Our goal is to utilize the IIC to aid our partners such as Profitera, to go to market and succeed with their sales."

Edwin Yapp is a freelance IT writer based in Malaysia.

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