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IBM Collaborates With Clients and Business Partners to Bring Blade Computing to Smaller Firms


IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced new initiatives to prepare business partners for the availability of BladeCenter S, the industry’s first blade computing system designed to help smaller firms simplify the management of their technology. In addition, IBM will enable select clients, IBM Business Partners and independent software vendors to provide feedback on final product development for BladeCenter S through a beta program.

IBM’s beta program for BladeCenter S spans over 10 countries and includes IBM Business Partners as well as clients. The goal of the beta program is to solicit feedback to help fine tune the BladeCenter S offering, finalizing such product details as the ability for clients to easily deploy and configure blade systems following a “wizard-based” installation interface.
Additionally, IBM Business Partners -- including value-added resellers and independent software vendors -- will be able to provide direct feedback to IBM on application integration, packaging and marketing for BladeCenter S.

“IBM detailed its forthcoming BladeCenter S offering to Logicalis in June, allowing us to prepare both our clients and our sales force for its delivery later this year,” said Kevin Gruneisen, IBM System x and BladeCenter brand manager, Logicalis. “We look forward to providing input to IBM that will help influence the final product and, ultimately, meet the needs of our mutual clients.”

IBM is working closely with its Business Partners on several additional initiatives in preparation for the availability of BladeCenter S, including:

IBM BladeCenter and Storage Solution Center: A new program to enable leading IBM Business Partners to work with IBM to establish targeted centers to showcase blade and storage technology in action for small and medium business clients. These are world-class facilities with multi- functional lab space for training and customer engagements, particularly SMB clients looking for the integration of blades together with a simple, affordable solution to handle storage needs as they manage a rising tide of feature-rich e-mail, greater file-print requirements and implementation of new applications. IBM Business Partners selected for this program have access to IBM marketing and expert content as well as leasing and investment.
IBM Systems Connect Tech Events: Three major global educational events held before the end of the year in Europe, Asia and the US to educate IBM clients and Business Partners on new IBM products, featuring in-depth sessions on BladeCenter S to help IBM’s SMB-focused partners prepare for the product’s availability later this year.
Partner Advocacy Program and Enablement Activity: IBM will launch a Partner Advocacy Program with a select group of partners, allowing participants to provide their feedback on BladeCenter to IBM while receiving direct attention to their requirements. IBM will also provide six of IBM’s top distributors with BladeCenter S beta units as well as marketing funds to support business partner workshops for BladeCenter S.
“The IBM BladeCenter and Storage Solution Center program is an attractive concept. SIS operates a mobile briefing center featuring IBM blade and storage technology and it has been incredibly successful in helping us serve small and medium business clients,” said Steve Sigg, CEO of Software Information Systems (SIS). “The Solution Center is an ideal way for SIS to continue our mobile briefing center and, with the forthcoming delivery of BladeCenter S, we’ll be better equipped than ever to showcase the simplification and integration of blades to our smaller clients.”

Expansion of Highly Successful Vertical Industry Program

IBM also announced today that it will expand IBM’s markedly successful Vertical Industry Program (VIP) to involve its entire SMB-focused hardware portfolio, including BladeCenter S.

The VIP was introduced for the System i platform in January to grow a leadership position for both IBM and its Business Partners in sub-industries in which IBM technology can provide a unique business advantage. The VIP has since dramatically outpaced projected success, launching over 140 sub-industries in over 20 countries and exceeding all financial targets. Since its launch, the program doubled the number of new clients choosing the System i platform, driving new client wins for IBM Business Partners.

IBM will showcase BladeCenter S this week at the industry’s largest partner event, CMP XChange ’07, through on-stage demonstrations and one-to-one meetings with partners.


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