Blog Authors: Valerie Skinner 060000VKGS is part of the IBM developerWorks team, getting to know the real developers who make up the My developerWorks community and exploring the world of social networking. I'm enjoying learning what makes developers tick! I'm very interested in exploring online communities and social media and understanding real world application - how they can help people solve problems and work together.
Interview with Eitan Gal, Manager of the Israel IBM Innovation Center
vskinner 060000VKGS Tags:  interview ibm_business_partners ibm_innovation_center my_developerworks iic mydw israel isv 2 Comments 4,893 Views
This week I'm bringing you an interview with Eitan Gal, the manager of the IBM Innovation Center in Israel. IBM Innovation Centers help ISVs, developers and students learn about new technology, as well as helping IBM Business Partners build and integrate solutions, close deals and grow business. I wanted to interview Eitan because he can share what happens at an IBM Innovation Center, as well as giving the scoop on a lot of exciting activity happening with ISVs in Israel.
Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I have 25 years experience in the IT industry, started as an IT programmer at Intel IT here in Israel. I am with IBM for the last 11 years, in the first three years I was part of Lotus Sametime development team and since 2001 I am proud to be part of the Israeli IBM Innovation Center (IIC) team. In my first three years at the IIC, I have worked with IT architects from local ISVs in the Telecommunication area such as Amdocs and Comverse. In 2004, I became the IIC team manager. Today we are a team of eleven professionals, IT Architect and Technical consultants, covering the Israeli ISV market, which is one of the largest ISV communities in the world, with about 3,500 local high tech ISV companies. The Israeli IIC is part of the Global Technology Unit (GTU). The GTU's mission is to evaluate and develop partnership for IBM with local ISVs, whose innovative solutions are incorporated in IBM products and services, ensuring a strong value proposition for both IBM and the ISV in joint sales initiatives.
What aspect of software and solution architecture do you most enjoy?
As the IIC leader, I enjoy being part of the GTU team which assesses new ISVs for partnership with IBM. In addition to looking at business aspects, we explore the full technology potential of IBM Hardware and Software, which can be adopted by the ISVs in their solutions. The process requires deep understanding in the ISV solution architecture, and in IBM products which can potentially bring high value as part of the ISV solution. One of the end results of the assessment process is a technology road map, which we build jointly with the ISV. This road map outlines the IBM technologies that the ISVs will adopt according to a time line plan. In 2009 we evaluated 160 new ISVs, and performed around 200 Technology enablement projects, most of them took place with new ISVs.
From your perspective, how is the software industry unique in Israel?
In two aspects:
1. Israel has a concentration of more than 3500 local ISVs, in a country smaller then New Jersey :-). In the last 15 years over 250 companies were involved in M&A transactions. More than 90% of ISVs influence is outside of Israel as the local market is very small. Most local ISVs are looking for partnership with IBM, and see IBM as a partner which can bring global reach.
2. I think that part of our culture is risk taking, and local ISVs are early adopters that are willing to try new technologies and new product releases. This can be useful for these ISVs, but can sometimes put them in a problematic situation. It is important to understand that the Israeli high tech landscape is rich in entrepreneurial activity and early stage companies that are facing the decision about which platform to support. So we have a unique opportunity to work with these entrepreneurs at very early stages and in 2009 we increased significantly our activities with them through IIC events dedicated for this community.
What is the most interesting thing about IBM Innovation Centers that you think more people should know about?
We are one-stop-shop for ISV's IBM hardware and software needs for the local ISV market. We cover products in all IBM brands, with our primary focus on WebSphere, Information Management, Tivoli, System X and P. In addition to our IIC experts, we have Technical Business Partners which expand our support capabilities in areas where we are not experts. We also engage other IBM organizations and the IBM Lab whenever needed. In addition to product support we provide assistance for ISVs in the different certification processes available, such as "Ready for....." programs and the IBM Industry framework programs.
Do you have any plans coming up at the IBM Innovation Center in Israel soon that you're excited about?
We are excited to enter the Cloud space, In 2010 we plan to have some new exciting Cloud Products such as CloudBurst, and iDataFlex. We also evaluate the Cloud for Developers offering for our ISVs.
Which technologies or products does your IBM Innovation Center have the most expertise in?
Websphere and Information Management are the software brands we're strongest in. On Websphere in addition to the WebSphere Application Server we also support the Business Process Modeleing products such as Websphere Modeler, Process Server and Websphere ESB. In the Information Management area, in addition to the mainstream products such as DB2 and Data Stage, we have started in 2009 to support Cognos, and we see very high potential in the ISV market for Cognos.
Are there new technologies or products you want to learn or expand for 2010?
We are going to expand our support capabilities in two areas: Cloud related technologies on both the HW and SW side. With products such as CloudBurst and Cloud offering for developers. In addition, we plan to enhance our "vertical" Skills, which are Industry related skills. One of our main missions is to increase our ISVs presence in the different Industry Frameworks offered by IBM.
How do you use developerWorks?
developerWorks and My developerWorks demonstrate our technology strength. I see developerWorks as our face to IT professionals....in many occasions people that were introduced to the developerWorks site were amazed by the content they could find there and IBM's involvement in Open Source. We actively promote developerWorks and My developerWorks to our ISV community; it is our team's main resource for technical information, and often IIC technical consultants refer ISVs to developerWorks for technical information they need.
In your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities interest you?
Reading..... .Swimming and Jogging.......outdoor activities...... jogging in a beautiful park near Jerusalem, near where I leave. Woodworking and Iron works, I have a small nice workshop, and have my works album in Facebook.
- Thanks Eitan!