IBM takes Express route to mid-market

IBM takes Express route to mid-market

Setting its sights on snatching up mid-market business, IBM has launched its Express Advantage portfolio locally.

The program was unveiled in the US and Canada 12 months ago. Locally, it encompasses 60 hardware, software and services lines, including storage, software and server technologies such as WebSphere middleware, DB2 database and Tivoli systems. IBM also introduced 12 new products under the Express umbrella at its recent annual PartnerWorld conference, including updated versions of its System i servers, Systems Storage TS tape drives, DS storage appliances and DB2 Express software.

Alongside packaged solutions, IBM is providing customer financing, available across all Express products and services. Vice-president mid-market business, Charles Bligh, said Express Advantage represented years of working in the mid-market.

IBM classifi es mid-market as customers with 100-1000 users.

"It's about bringing together a collection of products to be more solutions focused and being more sophisticated about approaching mid-market customers," he said.

"For example, if you want SAP's All-in-One, then we will package up unique templates and infrastructure to make it easy to install and cut down on implementation costs. And we have five different All-in-One offerings for different industries."

Bligh was not specific about which verticals IBM was targeting, saying its overall aim was helping mid-market customers grow. "Things such as security, email systems, more functionality-rich ERP and business continuity - they [mid-market customers] have to exhibit what larger enterprises have in terms of more robust systems," he said.

IBM has launched a PartnerWorld Express Advantage website for partners, providing marketing, sales, training and technical assets. It has also created a new end-user concierge service, designed to simplify customer access to its resources. All leads are being passed to business partners. IBM was also looking to push out more mid-market services through channel partners, Bligh said. "We want to enable the channel to deliver the services we would traditionally have done," he said. "You'll start to see more around infrastructure-based services."

Partners can also choose to have their solutions certified 'Built on Express'. Those with an official stamp will be listed on IBM's website.

"We want to reiterate to our 5000 business partners that they are our main route to market - we're not confused about how partners fit into IBM's strategy," Bligh said.

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