The Application Enablement Program allows applications to be hosted on existing infrastructure, namely IBM's 150 datacentres worldwide, where economies of scale make it more feasible for users to customise and integrate their applications as needed.
IBM Global Services will host the applications and its network of software partners will deliver them on demand over the network through a range of different licensing models.
The customisation and integration of the application can be provided by either the software vendor or IBM Business Consulting Services.
IBM will also offer a number of hosting options that will provide access to an infrastructure designed to accommodate on-demand needs. Once an application is enabled, IBM's hosting model will not restrict a customer's ability to customise and integrate their application
Each customer can have a customised instance of a vendor's software or, if the application allows, can share the same instance. Customisation and integration of the application can be provided by either the software vendor or IBM Business Consulting Services.
Those IBM software partners who complete the Application Enablement Program become eligible to take advantage of IBM's new infrastructure on demand solutions that are intended to lower the costs of software implementations.
IBM has signed Adexa, which delivers solutions that synchronise corporate planning with operations planning; Entrust, an Internet security provider; and MRO Software, a provider of asset management solutions, to the program.
"We think the program broadens our relationship with IBM as well as expands our market reach and offers our customers additional deployment alternatives," said David Rothberg, vice-president, consulting partners, MRO Software.
Market researcher IDC recently issued a report stating that the software-as-a-service market would be worth some $16.5bn (£10.45bn) worldwide by 2006.