IBM Lotus Software Driving Mid-Market Success With New Workplace Products and Services
New SMB Offerings Fuel Customer Demand and Expand Business Opportunities for Partners
ARMONK, NY - 21 Mar 2006: IBM and its Lotus Software division today announced strong momentum and investment in the mid-market, showcasing new products and tools to better serve the needs of customers and create value-add opportunities for the Lotus Business Partner community. The new offerings include: a new version of IBM Workplace Services Express and a hosted trial version of IBM Workplace for Business Controls and Reporting.
With over 5,000 business partners and double-digit year-to-year growth, Lotus and its business partners are targeting solutions that meet the needs of small and medium customers around the world. Small and medium-sized businesses face the same challenges as large enterprises, but with fewer resources at their disposal. Lotus is providing affordable solutions that allow these businesses to adopt and upgrade systems that help enhance business performance while at the same time bringing efficiencies and cost savings to business operations. With over 800 solutions in the IBM Workplace Solution Catalog, small and mid-market firms have access to applications relevant to their industry and sized right for their operation scale.
“With more and more small and medium business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide turning to IBM Lotus and IBM Business Partners to help them build industry-specific solutions, our focus in 2006 is on delivering products and services that are affordable to manage but do not compromise on depth of capability,” said Mike Rhodin, IBM general manager Workplace, Portal and Collaboration Software.
IBM Workplace Services Express 2.6
IBM is announcing the new 2.6 release of Workplace Services Express, which will ship in April. This release will provide significant reliability and scalability improvements with up to a 200 percent improvement in performance. In addition, business partners who are building horizontal and vertical solutions that extend the rich portal, team collaboration and document management services of Workplace Services Express now have the new IBM Workplace Designer 2.6 tool to facilitate development and deployment of applications for their customers.
Other additions to the release are the inclusion of a license for IBM DB2 Universal Database Express Edition licensed for use with Workplace Services Express that provides robust database capabilities, as well as portlet support for Microsoft Exchange 2003 and support for IBM Workplace Web Content Management.
Workplace Services Express is experiencing rapid market penetration with over 5,000 trial downloads by customers in the last nine months alone. Some 750 business partners are now enabled on this offering and more than 60 new business applications have already been built on Workplace Services Express, providing customers with industry-specific solutions using the rich, out of the box services of the product.
Workplace Services Express is used by companies in many industries and many sizes. Among the customers who have benefited from its team-based collaboration and portal capabilities are: government organizations, utilities companies and companies in the industrial manufacturing and retail industries.
For example, in China Shajiao C Power Station improved its collaboration capabilities and streamlined its business operations with a collaboration portal after engaging IBM Business Partner TECHHERO Technology Co. to implement a collaboration portal based on the cost-effective IBM Workplace Services Express and IBM WebSphere Portal Express. This integrated environment provides the power station with the business flexibility that it needs to capitalize on fluctuating market trends and help increase its profitability.
In the U.S., Skaugen Petro Trans, a leading lightering company in Texas, reduced information-distribution costs and provided its customers with near real-time status data when it created a content portal using IBM Workplace Services Express software.
MSI Systems Integrators, a Nebraska-based IT services company reduced costs associated with a geographic expansion when selecting IBM Workplace Services Express for their human resources intranet. Immediate savings on new hire printing costs and orientation sessions exceed $5,000, as well as avoiding the addition of a new human resource staff member to handle the expanded employee population. As an IBM Business Partner, MSI will also be able to sell the IBM Workplace Services Express solution to its own customers, offering first-hand knowledge and expertise.
Hosted IBM Workplace for Business Controls and Reporting -- a faster solution to help address compliance needs
Regulatory compliance requirements and the need to improve internal controls are issues faced by businesses of all sizes. Small and mid-market companies in particular are often overwhelmed by the cost and complexity of IT solutions available to address these needs. IBM’s software offering, IBM Workplace for Business Control and Reporting, addresses these business needs.
IBM can also simplify deployment and management of this solution by providing the capability as a hosted service in partnership with IBM’s eBusiness Hosting Services. The Flexible Hosting Program for Workplace for Business Controls and Reporting enables customers to be up and running with IBM’s software in as little as 48 hours. Today, IBM is announcing a new “test drive” program for prospective customers who wish to evaluate the application and hosting delivery of Workplace for Business Controls and Reporting before purchasing. Business Partners can also use IBM’s test drive program to support needs identification engagements, conference room pilots and other pre-sales activity. For more information on the test drive program, see www-142.ibm.com/software/workplace/products/product5.nsf/wdocs/bcghomepage
Workplace for Business Controls and Reporting is designed to be delivered in cooperation with regional systems integrators, providing IBM Business Partners with a compelling tool to help address customer compliance and internal controls needs. Business Partners can leverage this solution to help reduce or eliminate the up front time investment needed to install and deploy a technical solution, including installation fees, capital investment for hardware, and training of IT staff. IBM provides a complete package of ongoing IT services including daily operations, backup of critical data, and upgrades to new versions, allowing the customer to focus on their core business. Business Partners can then focus on offering services to support a successful deployment such as needs analysis, configuration, and end user training services.
“Compliance is a critical need for clients of any size. We’re very excited to extend our partnership with IBM to include the ability of providing services around the Managed Application Services option for IBM Workplace for Business Controls and Reporting,” said Howie Hunger, managing partner of Personal Systems Technology. “With this option, Personal Systems Technology has a distinct advantage: Clients can start their compliance programs in days with no up front capital investments or IT training costs and we can focus on delivering our market leading compliance services.”
IBM plans to enable Business Partners to offer the hosted service to their customers and receive compensation for all opportunities they help close. IBM Business Partners who are enabled to participate in this program will receive a Closed Contract Fee totaling 4 percent of the quarterly hosting revenue stream. An additional 6 percent of first year revenue is paid as an SMB Accelerator for new Small and Medium Business customers. For more information on this complementary sales program for eBusiness Hosting, IBM Business Partners can go to http://www-1.ibm.com/partnerworld/pwhome.nsf/weblook/ebhs_bp_programs.html or check with their IBM Business Partner representative.
IBM is the world’s largest information technology company with 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. IBM Software offers a wide range of middleware and operating systems for all types of computing platforms, allowing customers to take e-business systems by using leading edge technologies from IBM to enable people to collaborate, communicate and integrate services over the Internet.
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