IBM Introduces New Solutions, Services for Mid-Sized Businesses

IBM today announced new Express Portfolio offerings designed to help mid-sized businesses with security, supply chain management, backup and recovery, enterprise resource planning and other critical applications. In response to growing mid-market demand for industry-specific solutions, most of the 22 new offerings address specific client needs in the retail and industrial industries.

New industry solutions include an RFID solution for retailers, a Product Lifecycle Management solution for manufacturers, and a supply chain diagnostic solution for the industrial sector. Among the new Express Portfolio infrastructure offerings are four pSeries systems that bring enterprise-class capabilities to mid-sized business at new levels of affordability.

These latest offerings demonstrate IBMs continued investment in the mid-market and accelerate the evolution of its SMB roadmap to encompass more high-value business and infrastructure solutions. The new offerings combine the strength of IBM technology offerings, business insight, services capabilities and simple financing options to help small and medium businesses improve performance and compete on a global scale. With 10% growth in the first half of 2005, IBM continues to expand its presence in the $360 billion small and medium business market.

Working together with our channel partners, we continue to develop and deploy solutions that help clients grow and become on demand businesses, said David Stokes, Vice President, Small & Medium Business, UK, Ireland and South Africa. The combination of IBM and our Business Partners is a powerful value proposition for our clients.

IBM Business Partners generate approximately half of IBMs revenue in the midmarket and are a critical channel that IBM continues to support with its IBM Small and Medium Business Advantage (SMBA) initiative. This initiative aggregates SMB-centric PartnerWorld resources including IBM offerings, world class technical support, marketing and sales resources, teaming tools, education and incentives to help IBM Business Partners improve profitability and grow market share.

One of the recent additions to SMBA is the Built on IBM Express Portfolio initiative. Introduced in April of this year, Built on IBM Express Portfolio offers IBM Business Partners an emblem to distinguish their solution as built on IBM offerings designed specifically for mid-sized businesses. These solutions contain at least one offering from the IBM Express Portfolio and have been successfully implemented in a mid-sized customer environment. Qualified IBM Business Partners who utilise the emblem can benefit from IBM's investment in demand generation and advertising to increase awareness of the IBM Express portfolio. To date, almost 150 Built on IBM Express Solutions have been approved by IBM.

New resources for IBM Business Partners to formulate infrastructure solutions for mid-market customers include the Technology Assessment Tool, the Seller Action Playbook, and SMB Infrastructure Insights. The Technology Assessment Tool helps partners prescribe the right blend of technologies to create On Demand infrastructures. IBM Business Partners can use the Seller Action Playbook to guide customers through real business scenarios. SMB Infrastructure Insights helps partners target business resiliency and security opportunities to eliminate spam, viruses and spyware with market intelligence and sales and marketing aids.

"With such an important announcement focused on midmarket clients, IBM continues to make a very strong statement about its investment in small and medium business" said Andrew Yuille, Marketing Director at supply chain software vendor Strategix. "We are certainly looking forward to opening up new business opportunities with IBM based on this significantly extended Express portfolio".

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