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IBM Targets SMB Market For On Demand

IBM is continuing its push into the SMB market, this time taking its on-demand mantra to small and midsize businesses.

IBM is continuing its push into the SMB market, this time taking its on-demand mantra to small and midsize businesses. At an event today focused on "Big Ideas for Midsize Business," Marc Lautenbach, IBM general manager of Global Small and Medium Business, said it was not a question of whether on demand will be a reality in the SMB market, but how. Lautenbach emphasized IBM's commitment to the SMB market and announced a new $200 million advertising campaign targeted at it. With the SMB market accounting for more than 20 percent of IBM's revenue, Lautenbach said it's a prime area into which to extend the on-demand model. IBM defines the SMB space as companies with between 100 and 1,000 employees.

To this end, IBM announced two new Express platforms aimed at making it easier for business partners to build and deploy on-demand solutions for their SMB customers. These include the IBM Integrated Platform Express for Web Application Serving, a platform for developing, deploying and managing dynamic Web sites; and the IBM Process Integration Solution Express, a business integration platform for integrating internal processes and applications for real-time data flow across an organization.

In addition, IBM announced its IBM Workplace Services Express, a real-time collaboration and portal offering to improve data sharing across companies. Accessible via a standard Web browser, the Workplace Services Express will be available later this year.

Linda Sanford, IBM senior vice president, On Demand Transformation and Information Technology, was also on hand to emphasize the importance of on demand in the SMB market. "IBM is committed to providing pragmatic, affordable solutions for SMB clients," she said. This on demand transformation to doing business in real-time, she added, will help further the fusion of business processes and technology in the SMB market.

Sanford described three common attributes of an on-demand company: horizontal integration, responsiveness and flexibility. She also described the importance of cultural change that must take place in an on-demand environment. More specifically, an internal shift within companies to focus on collaboration and sharing will ensure the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

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