Taking e-commerce to the burbs

Taking e-commerce to the burbs

Determined to make its e-business concept more accessible to small and medium-sized customers, IBM last week launched a host of solutions packages that it claims will spawn greater integration activity for channel partners.

The vendor's move follows strong reaction from the small business market to its concerted e-business advertising campaign.

According to IBM e-business spokesperson Andrew Baker, the response from small businesses sugg-ested that e-commerce planning no longer solely resides at the enterprise level. In fact, through its partners IBM plans to sell e-commerce solution packages to small businesses with no IT department, and those organisations with some IT experience.

This decision to broaden e-business's appeal has pleased two IBM business partners - Kaz Computer Services and Aspect Computing. Both recognise that e-commerce is redefining the boundaries of small business and are eager to grab a slice of the action.

According to Kaz's managing director Peter Kazacos, these new solutions enable Kaz to offer its customers a technology progression that they can take only when the business demands it.

"This is a market that everyone wants to get into," Kazacos said. "It's important that we can offer our customers a range of solutions rather than just one option.

"If you sit back and navel gaze your competitors are certain to come in and swamp you," he added.

Small globe

Aspect Computing's e-business manager, Klaus Bartosch, was equally excited about the new business opportunities the solutions could open up.

"E-commerce is redefining what small business means," he claimed. "More and more small businesses are engaging in global competition. So the challenge from our perspective is not just e-commerce-related but also services-based - what tools can we provide the customer to help them reach that goal.

"IBM's marketing of e-business has certainly changed small businesses' perceptions as they become more mature in their approach to it."

IBM has broken its e-commerce package into four components: an e-commerce Starter Pack; e-commerce hosting servers; IBM's e-commerce Start Now program; and IBM's Return on Web Investment consultancy service.

IBM Global Services has been selected as the solution provider for the Starter Pack and Web consultancy offerings, while partners including Aspect and Kaz will handle the Start Now program. Server hosting will be provided by Offis and InterMarket.

The Starter Pack is aimed at providing secure online transactions from $60 a month, while the server hosting includes secure transactions plus a catalogue and database from $100 a month.

The Start Now program provides consulting and implementation services from $1334 per month, while the Web consultancy service can deliver a range of e-commerce services.

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