IBM’s Express Advantage Provides Simple Solutions to Complex Problems for Mid-sized Businesses; New Offerings Target Business Flexibility, Employee Productivity and Asset Security
IBM Offers Solutions Along With a Strong Network of Business Partners and Enhanced Customer Experience Capabilities, Targeted to Mid-sized Businesses
ARMONK, NY - 24 Oct 2006: Today IBM (NYSE: IBM) unveiled the newest Express Advantage offerings, which include hardware, software, services and financing offerings specifically developed for mid-sized businesses. The Express Advantage initiative combines these offerings with IBM Business Partner resources available via PartnerWorld Express Advantage and customer experience capabilities to ensure that mid-sized businesses have end-to-end coverage to resolve their business challenges, and help them to innovate and grow.
The newest Express Advantage offerings include IBM Express Asset Recovery Solutions, IBM System p5 Solution Edition Express for Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, IBM System p5 Solution Edition for Oracle E-Business Suite, IBM System p5 Solution Edition Express for mySAP ERP, IBM System i IP Telephony Express, IBM System x3655, x3200, x3250 Express Models, and IBM Infoprint 1612, 1622 and 1634 Express printers.
“The latest evolution of Express Advantage offerings targets customer pain points that mid-sized clients have told us are concerns for them as they work to remain competitive and innovative. Chief among these are improved business flexibility, employee productivity and asset security,” said Surjit Chana, Vice President of Marketing for IBM Global SMB. “IBM is committed to providing these fundamental IT capabilities, as well as proactively positioning our partners as local experts our customers can turn to for advice and enablement. Working together, our goal is to provide mid-sized clients with an unmatched customer experience that will help them meet their own strategic and growth goals.”
“IBM’s Express Advantage program allows Vormittag Associates, Inc. and other IBM Business Partners the ability to offer problem solving results specifically designed to suit our mid-market customers’ needs. With Express Advantage products and services we know it’s been designed for and will solve our customers’ problems,” said Vince Taravella, Director of Channel Sales, Vormittag Associates, Inc.
The Express Advantage initiative was originally introduced at PartnerWorld 2006 as a way for IBM to harness the full breadth of resources available across the company -- from offerings to channel resources to customer experience capabilities -- and demonstrate how all these pieces work together to fully meet the needs of the dynamic mid-market.
Additionally, IBM Financing Advantage is available for IBM Express offerings and solutions. It offers small and mid-sized clients easy access to the capital they need to grow and innovate, great rates and easy to understand contracts. Under the Why Wait promotion, clients can acquire IBM hardware such as the IBM System p5 Solution Edition Express now and not make any payments until January of 2007.
Express Advantage offerings: Simple solutions for business challenges
The latest round of Express Advantage offerings address pain points that SMBs have named as primary challenges to growth and profitability. For example, IBM’s System p offerings address business flexibility by enabling successful enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementations. These ERP implementations can drive a reduction in operational costs by lowering the skill and quantity demands for personnel.
The IBM System i IP Telephony Express solution is the first-ever IP telephony solution designed to run on a single, easy-to-manage system along with a customer’s business applications. System i IP Telephony Express solutions are sized and priced for companies from 100-1,000 users and can be added to new or existing System i platforms. The importance of solution availability motivated IBM to offer System i IP Telephony Express solution in both single and double system versions -- one to act as the primary system and another correctly sized, configured and attractively priced to serve as the back up system.
IBM Express Asset Recovery Solutions is a suite of services and offerings designed specifically for SMB clients’ end-of-life products. It includes buyback services, disposal services, data security services and some logistics services, including packaging and return transportation IBM Express Asset Recovery Solutions suite is scalable from one to 250 assets, available for single or multiple shipments and includes both IBM and non-IBM equipment.
And IBM System x Express models and Infoprint printers are competitively priced, easy to use, easy to manage and support. System x3655, x3200 and x3250 Express offer the latest dual core processor offerings and provide affordable, reliable performance to maximize SMB clients’ IT investment. In addition, System x3200 and x3250 Express have built-in scalability to support quad core processors when the technology becomes available, further extending the performance and value of these systems. The System x servers are available now in the United States, with planned availability worldwide.
The new IBM office printers can help clients consolidate and drive cost out of their distributed output environment. They offer a leading-edge combination of speed, security, image quality and cost effectiveness -- providing clients with the opportunity to reinvent their approach to office printing.
Express Advantage Business Partner Ecosystem
In addition to new offerings, IBM has strengthened its network of Business Partners with new tools designed to help partners expand their capabilities to sell to the mid-market.
Many Business Partners have already taken advantage of Solutions Builder Express, a sales and implementation toolkit for more than 30 solutions, complete with an offer for one-on-one technical support available from IBM mid-market development teams to assist in closing deals.
Now, Solutions Builder Express is expanding to include two new solution starting points. Solution starting points are just as their name suggests -- starting points for the top IT solutions requested by mid-sized customers to which IBM Business Partners add their high value customization and services to complete the solution.
One of the new starting points, “Providing Basic Services to Maintain Hardware Platform Health,” enables Business Partners to quickly and easily engage in providing services to monitor hardware health, hardware inventory and alerts.
The second new starting point, “Providing Enhanced Systems Management Services,” enables Business Partners to engage in remote systems management services, such as operating system installation, application software distribution and centralized server backup/restore.
In addition to starting points, Solutions Builder Express also includes the IBM Solutions Consultant Express Tool, a web-based tool that acts as a virtual consultant by identifying infrastructure solution opportunities and accelerating the solution design. As of today, the customer interview and prescribed architecture tools are available in French, Italian, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, and Spanish, as well as English.
One Business Partner expanding its business with IBM is DATASKILL, an application integration and database engineering organization. DATASKILL utilizes Solution Consultant Express to identify new opportunities and put together proposals, secure in the knowledge that it has included the right products for its mid-market clients. DATASKILL also takes advantage of the Built on IBM Express Advantage program, which certifies that its process integration solutions, built on IBM WebSphere products, have already undergone successful mid-market installation.
Nigel Hook, President and CEO of DATASKILL, explains, “DATASKILL uses the IBM Express Advantage offerings program as a framework with which we can pitch, propose and close solutions to our customers in the mid-market. When we lead with IBM Express Advantage offerings we always combine that with other products and services because we find that -- for these clients especially -- the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Our mid-market customers are looking for end-to-end complete solutions, including the installation, development, management and ongoing upkeep.”
IBM Business Partner enablement resources also include Express Seller, which is part of PartnerWorld Express Advantage and helps Business Partners rapidly deliver affordable technology to SMBs. Express Seller pairs IBM’s demand generation resources with attractive pricing and conditions, helping to enable sales and reach into the SMB market. Just as the IBM Express Advantage offerings are specifically designed to meet the needs of SMB customers, the Express Seller program is specifically designed to help IBM Business Partners sell these products to SMB customers.
At the beginning of October, IBM announced the inclusion of several mid-market software solutions to the Express Seller program. Added to the Express Seller initiative were Lotus Domino Collaboration Express, Lotus Domino Messaging Express, Lotus Domino Utility Server Express, IBM Workplace Services Express, IBM Tivoli Continuous Data Protection (CDP) for Files, and IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Express. In September, IBM announced Express Track, a global drive to reach thousands of local IT resellers, including those who sell competitor products. This drive continues IBM’s SMB market expansion throughout 2006, focused on growing mid-market sales of IBM technology solutions through the channel. Express Track includes increased IBM coverage and enablement support for IBM Business Partners. This demand generation support is coupled with the addition of more than 300 people worldwide to provide coverage and enablement for local IT resellers.
These programs continue IBM’s commitment to improve channel profitability, building on last quarter’s announced 5% incentive to Business Partners who sell into new hardware SMB accounts. To qualify, partners must sell to a customer who is not currently an IBM hardware customer. This program is already in place and our partners are reaping the results of their efforts.
Express Advantage: Customer Experience
IBM Express Advantage Concierge was introduced during PartnerWorld 2006 in March as a new customer experience tool that provides simplified access to IBM’s extensive arsenal of people and resources. Concierge is a dedicated service that quickly and simply connects SMBs with the right person to answer their questions. The easy way for SMBs to take advantage of Express Advantage Concierge is to dial 1-877-IBM-ACCESS.
In September, IBM Global Financing (IGF), the world’s leading provider of IT financing solutions for hardware, software and services, announced that its Rapid Online Financing tool processed its 10,0000th US financing transaction. The Rapid Online Financing tool allows IBM Business Partners or Financing Associates to finish basic simple client financing transactions online in less than an hour. Equally important, Rapid Online Financing helps SMBs plan out their IT investments since they can quickly determine their financing options through IBM.
For more information about the Express Advantage initiative and the new Express Advantage offerings visit www.ibm.com/expressadvantage. For more information on IBM Business Partner enablement resources such as Solutions Builder Express, please visit www.ibm.com/partnerworld/smb.
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