IBM’s Gold Coast software development laboratory is expected to increase its staff numbers by 20 percent by the end of March, after last year taking on the role of integrating IBM software with legacy applications.

“There has been a significant growth in the number of people,” Laurie Zaat, security business unit executive for IBM Asia Pacific told ZDNet Australia  . The lab currently employs around 66 people and is looking to expand to around 80 people, with software engineers’ expertise in demand around the world.

“It’s the first port of call for our customers for issues particularly peculiar to Asia-Pacific,” said Zaat. “It’s not just a developer lab, it’s a very key part of our sales and support environment for Asia Pacific.”

The Gold Coast laboratory is home to IBM’s “Ace Group”, a custom engineering shop that helps customers worldwide tailor IBM software to specific sectoral needs and interoperate with legacy applications. Health organisations are just one example of customers with highly specific and specialised requirements due to the need to comply with government regulations.

The lab is also home to the Integration Factory, which creates out-of-the-box application program interfaces (APIs) for specific software. “So for someone who has SAP [software] the lab has developed an interface to people can deploy [IBM products] straight out of the box,” said Zaat.

The final role of the lab is core product development, which is shared with other IBM labs around the world.

The lab is the descendant of the headquarters of Australian company, Dascom, which was acquired by IBM in the mid-90s for its Access Manager product, which is now the platform security product for Tivoli. The portfolio has since grown, and IBM now offers a number of products based around Access Manager.

“Access Manager has become the de facto security for all IBM software,” said Zaat.