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Post acquisition, it's business as usual at ISS

Post acquisition, it's business as usual at ISS
Post acquisition, it's business as usual at ISS 

By Paul Hales
in Marbella
13 November 2006

THE $1.3 BILLION acquisition of Internet Security Services (ISS) by IBM, 
finalised just over three weeks ago, overshadows events at the company's 
annual EMEA channel shindig held this year in sunny Marbella.
While some ISS executives may have acquired extra swagger to their gait, 
some smaller resellers are feeling a little anxious of what the future 
may hold for them once IBM sinks its big blue teeth into the 

So the message central to the presentations being held here is: business 
as usual.

IBM has committed to allow ISS to continue to operate as a largely 
autonomous unit. And those swaggering executives from the smaller 
company are salivating over the prospect of the massive resources now 
available to them.

And IBM is seeking to reassure ISS's channel partners that the deal is 
good for them too.

The deal, IBM says, came about a result of customer pressure. Jocelyn 
Furniss, IBM Global Services Channels Executive says IBM set its sights 
firmly on the security market after "customers have been telling us how 
important security is."

She also noted that estimates have the market growing by around 15 per 
cent per year, to be worth some $55 billion next year. Certainly, that 
helped IBM to rustle up the $1.3 billion. "It's a big deal," she 

IBM doesn't necessarily have salesmen, it seems. What it does have 
though is 11,000 "relationship managers". And these guys, as they manage 
their relationships, will now be working for ISS and its channel 
partners, generating new leads for the specialist salesmen populating 
ISS's established channel.

Ask Tom Noonan, ISS one-time chairman, president and CEO all wrapped up 
in one, why IBM plumped for ISS and he'll tell you it's all about the 
platform. To him, it makes no sense for an enterprise to buy different 
bits and bobs to track down viruses or build firewalls or sniff out 
malware and the like and then to have staff trained in the use of a 
range of different applications, when ISS's Proventia platform will do 
the lot. Additional tools can simply be added 'on demand' he says, as 
the enterprise develops different needs.

Indeed, he realises ISS started banging on about on demand services 
around the same time as IBM did, not that he thought that much about it 
at the time, but evidently, "they were watching us, " he says.

We'll hear more from Tom later, after we find out how much of the 
message has been swallowed by his resellers.

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