IBM jStart

Founded in 1997, IBM's jStart team is IBM's primary client engagement group for emerging internet technologies. The team is part of IBM Software Solutions Group, and is a component of the Emerging Technologies team. jStart is responsible for creating prototypes and solutions for companies around the world, and has frequently launched the first implementations of technologies for introduction into the enterprise.[1]

IBM's jStart
IndustryInternet, Computer software

United States
Area served
Key people
Rod Smith
(VP Emerging Internet Technologies)
Ed Elze
(Program Director, jStart)
Number of employees
27 - July 19, 2013


jStart was founded as a vehicle to engage and validate Java technology with customers/clients. In 1999 it broadened its mission to covering the much wider concept of “emerging internet technologies”.

Timeline of technologies jStart has been involved in:

  • 1997: Java - promoted and championed Java to large enterprise environments
  • 1999: Beyond Java - evolved from that evangelism mission to introduce new and emerging internet techs into IBM and to IBM's customers/clients by validating emerging technologies with a client engagement model.
  • 2001: S.O.A., XML
  • 2004: Web Services
  • 2006: Web 2.0 in the Enterprise ("Web 2.0 Goes to Work")
  • 2007: RIA (Rich Internet Applications)
  • 2009: Mashup Technologies
  • 2010: Big Data/Very large data analytics, cross-platform mobile development
  • 2011: Watson commercialization, DeepQA, machine learning
  • 2012: Social Analytics, big data analytics applied to social data
  • 2013: IBM Bluemix, a next-gen XaaS cloud platform

What differentiates the team from other IBM groups is how jStart validates emerging technologies: it is the primary engagement vehicle for IBM to validate emerging technologies while those technologies are in their emergent stage for enterprise business environments. Because of this, jStart was the first to introduce these technologies into large Fortune 500 IT infrastructures as well as smaller SMB environments by addressing existing business needs (rather than theoretical R&D business scenarios). The team is working to commercialize IBM's Watson system, and is a proponent of cloud offerings.

About jStart

The jStart team has developed a model in which customer engagements drive its exploration of emerging technologies. It does this by engaging hundreds of clients per year to validate emerging technology priorities (using a client driven development model instead of a research driven model). jStart has used this model for each of the technologies it has helped to launch and/or develop. A number of technologies the team has worked with have gone on to graduate into open source projects, have become IBM products, or have been licensed to third parties. Other, less successful technologies, were discontinued when it was determined that, based on client/customer engagements, those technologies were not applicable to enterprise environments.[2]


  1. "The History of jStart", IBM's jStart Website: History, accessed February 1, 2011.
  2. "The jStart Process: Start Small, Grow Fast", IBM's jStart Website: Process, accessed February 1, 2011.
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