IBM Expands Tivoli Express Line

IBM reinforced its commitment Friday to the small and midsize business (SMB) market, unveiling four versions of its Tivoli Express management software, whose design and features were heavily influenced by

February 24, 2006

3 Min Read
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IBM Friday reinforced its commitment to the small and midsize business (SMB) market, unveiling four versions of its Tivoli Express management software, whose design and features were heavily influenced by partners.

The new versions, which will formally debut at the company's annual PartnerWorld conference next month in Las Vegas, contains dozens of features specifically designed to accommodate how SMB companies typically deal with managing server workloads, monitoring applications, protecting information and verifying passwords.

"We haven't taken the enterprise products and just turned off some of the features. We have rebuilt them by adding new technology pieces, adding new installation routines and, in some cases, a whole new graphical interface," said Mike Gerentine, IBM's Worldwide Director of Tivoli Channel Strategy and Development.

IBM developed the new products by working with some 45 IBM partners at a number of its development labs over the past 18 months. The partners had critical input into what features and functions should be added, including how the interface should look, according to IBM officials.

"Last year, we brought in some handpicked partners who are expert in this (management and security) area and we formed steering councils. We were intent on validating that what our development guys were building was the right stuff that solved real users' problems," Gerentine said.The four new offerings include the Tivoli Identity Manager Express that helps SMBs knock down insider attacks and streamlines compliance; Tivoli Storage Manager Express, which reduces data-loss risks from viruses and file corruption; Tivoli Provisioning Manager Express, an inventory-management and software-distribution product, and Tivoli Monitoring Express, which lets SMBs better manage online applications, including e-mail and bill paying.

Some VARs believe IBM has made honest efforts to rebuild and tailor the new applications to SMB companies.

"They have reused and evolved some common features that look like they work pretty well, like the single Web-console interface from WebSphere. They have appropriately limited functionality by taking out a couple layers of abstraction not required by a lot of smaller companies," said Michael Roy, president at Blue World Technology.

"They really have tried to redo the products and not just make them handicapped versions of their higher-end applications. I think they realize the more processes and workflows they can give VARs, the better those VARs and ISVs can service SMBs in their local markets," said Rich Ptak, president of Ptak, Noles & Associates.

To help VARs get out of the blocks faster in selling the new offerings, IBM is supplying them with programs and financial incentives to help drive demand generation. For the first time, Tivoli VARs can get training and technical support through its Virtual Innovation Center (VIC), an online enablement portal. The site offers partners live mentoring, solution road maps and client simulations.In concert with access to the VIC, IBM Friday launched its SMB Micro Site where users and partners can go to get questions answered and share technical information.

"To get more buzz going and to generate more leads, the Micro Site will be an awareness portal for customers to ping. All the leads we get through there will be passed on to partners," Gerentine said.

IBM will stagger the release of the four products with the Tivoli Identity Manager Express, shipping first on Feb. 28, followed by Tivoli Storage Manager Express on March 17, Tivoli Provisioning Manager Express on March 31 and Tivoli Monitoring Express on April 7.

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