IBM sold its networking business to Cisco in late 1999 and since then has teamed with it on a range of services initiatives.
The pair announced a joint initiative at the 3GM conference in Cannes under which they will develop services and products aimed at the wireless and e-commerce markets.
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While IBM Global Services has been partnering for Cisco since last year, IBM is seeking to agressively increase its Cisco business, with a goal of generating four times the revenue, according to Gary Bullard, vice president of strategy and marketing for Global Services, Emea.
“We’ve built up a substantial group of people in Emea focusing on co-operation with Cisco. We want to generate $1bn (£667m) worth of business this year through Cisco,” Bullard confided.
He identified the hot spots as consulting and integration services, saying IBM was targeting the service provider market and CRM sector.
Bullard said the growth of the partnership was a progression from the amicable nature of the sale: “At the time of the sale, there was a clear announcement of co-operation. IBM would lose the smaller stream of hardware revenue but open up to the larger stream of services revenue.”
Another market he anticipated kicking off this year was 3G mobile licence holders: “There are a lot of active bids going on in that market,” he asserted. IBM was the fastest moving up the list of Cisco partners, according to Bullard.
He was particularly bullish about the UK’s prospects this year, describing it as one of the hottest markets in service provision. He added it showed signs of staying ahead of the rest of Europe this year.