HelpSystems Blog

What makes IBM i so popular overseas?

The ongoing celebrations of System i's 25th anniversary have offered industry insiders an opportunity for reflection, and some of the most intriguing observations made have centered on the international seeds spread by IBM and the impressive fruits now borne.

Out-of-the-Box Performance

To become the dominant global platform that it is today, IBM i required a clear plan of action from the start. The driving philosophy behind the system's architecture is one that translates across all languages: simplicity. Applying the plug-and-play concept at such a broad scale has been no easy task, but customers certainly appreciate the almost automatic amenities of stronger security, 24/7 availability, and more agile application development from day one.

In fact, the critical response in Japan has been so positive that a group of more than 70 IBM business partners and independent software vendors once decided to take the big blue marketing burden upon themselves and autonomously spread the gospel of what they dubbed a "miracle in computer history." The education and promotion performed by the IBM i Manifest solidified Japan's install base and put it on the path to becoming one of the brightest stars on the company's global map.

True Integration

Much of the initial interest in System i stemmed from the sense that it is a truly comprehensive solution, not merely a patchwork of high-performance parts. Like many influential innovations that came before it, IBM i was derived from a simple but ambitious ideal. Developers decided from the very beginning that they would absorb all responsibility for handling technical complexity and put out a hardware solution that lets customers focus exclusively on their businesses.

As IBM i enthusiasts chronicled its early development in an elaborate Facebook retrospective, it was revealed that seamless support for user ideas was among its first major internationalization moves. With native support for more than 50 national languages, including the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean characters, which formerly frustrated manufacturers, IBM i was equipped to succeed across borders. And today, the platform's defining in-system relational databases gives developers the confidence that the applications they develop will work in any System i environment in the world.

Connected Communities

Finally, IBM i customers near and far are backed by a clear strength in numbers. With dedicated development labs now collaborating between Rochester (Minnesota) and Beijing for nearly a decade, users know that the solutions and advice they are continuously presented with is coming from architects who hold the bigger picture front of mind. There is little doubt that the insight, creativity and autonomy displayed by the ever-expanding IBM i user community over the years have been central to the technology's global acceptance and continuous innovation.