IBM announced on Thursday that it will open eight "competency centers" around the world to help large systems integrators develop and test business integration solutions for their customers.
These solutions, also known as Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) offerings, allow companies to exchange information internally and externally along their supply chains.
IBM said it will staff each EAI facility with experts trained to help integrators with every aspect of product development, including project bidding, customer education and proof of concept.
"Because of steadily growing demand for EAI solutions, 200,000 worldwide [integration] professionals are spending far too much time searching for facilities to fine-tune their products," noted William Reedy, vice president of marketing for IBM Software, in a statement. "By putting these scarce resources under one roof, IBM is making it much easier [for them] to bring their customers better solutions, and in less time."
The first center is scheduled to open Thursday in Chicago. Two more, in San Mateo, Calif., and Hursley, England, will open next month, and by early next year, IBM plans to open additional centers in Washington, D.C.; Stuttgart, Germany; Paris; Tokyo; and Singapore.