CenturyLink, IBM target big data, cloud services with software tech project in Louisiana

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) has established a partnership with IBM and the state of Louisiana to develop a new applications development innovation center in Monroe, La.

The new center will be focused on developing software services targeting big data, cloud computing and mobile-based business initiatives.

Besides the 400 direct jobs that will be created at the center, Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in approximately 400 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 800 new permanent jobs in northeast Louisiana. 

Colleen Arnold, senior vice president, IBM Sales and Distribution, said in a release that they picked Louisiana for this program because the state is becoming an emerging technology hub.

"Louisiana is the right place for high-tech job growth with an exceptional education system, business environment and workforce to serve the needs of our clients," Arnold said.

A key focus of the group will be to recruit local technology experts, while seeking out recent college graduates from Louisiana's colleges and universities.

To attract potential student recruits to the center, the state of Louisiana is providing $4.5 million in funding over 10 years to expand technology-related programs, including the computer science program at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, the cyber engineering program at Louisiana Tech and the data analytics program at Grambling State University. In addition, the state will provide $12 million to build new office space for IBM, which will become an anchor tenant of the privately developed mixed-use complex. 

Students at the targeted universities will be able to take part in formal internships with IBM and additional CenturyLink internships. IBM will also work with the Louisiana Economic Development FastStart program on recruiting initiatives, including campus events in Louisiana and neighboring states as well as via social media, alumni events and the development of recruiting materials.

Driving innovation around cloud and colocation services continues to be a key focus for CenturyLink. Having a partner like IBM on hand to help with the development of new cloud applications will help make it more valuable to existing and new clients that are enhancing their own cloud migrations. 

Both of these services were a key highlight of the telco's fourth-quarter earnings business revenue mix. Managed hosting revenues were $145 million, up 1.4 percent from the fourth quarter of 2013, while colocation revenues were $160 million, a 1.9 percent increase over the same period a year ago.

At the same time, CenturyLink has been stepping up its own internal cloud application development efforts. Following its acquisition of Tier 3, the service provider launched its Seattle-area Cloud Development Center last October as a way to foster creativity among the top developers and coders to develop new cloud services. 

For more:
- see the release

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