Agilysys Opens IBM Business Partner Innovation Center

Agilysys is the proud owner of the latest IBM Business Partner Innovation Center, a multimillion dollar facility in New York City where the company???s Enterprise Solutions Group can showcase server

January 18, 2006

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Agilysys is the proud owner of the latest IBM Business Partner Innovation Center (BPIC), a multimillion dollar facility in New York City where the company’s Enterprise Solutions Group can showcase and configure solutions for customers.

“We have made an investment in technology and resources, and this instills a sense of confidence in customers,” said Lou Sciacchetano, vice president of sales for the IBM technology solutions unit of Agilysys’ Enterprise Solutions Group.

Agilysys has more than $1 million in IBM equipment in the center, according to Sciacchetano. “This center is design to meet IBM specifications. They coached us along the way and helped with incentives on leases to provide best-of-breed equipment,” he said. “The other advantage it provides us is it allows us to replicate multivendor [environments] and integrate non-IBM products. In our center, we have Cisco [Systems ]and non-IBM storage and server vendors [EMC, Hitachi Data Systems and Hewlett-Packard].”

IBM now has 56 BPICs in North America and 96 around the world, according to Donn Atkins, IBM’s general manager of Global Business Partners. “It has proven to be a very effective [model]. It is a single point for education, enablement--what I call kicking the tires,” Atkins said.

The Agilysys center in midtown Manhattan is the second BPIC in New York. Solution provider CGS Rave has a downtown facility.“With such a concentration of opportunity, customers and partners, having a second BPIC is a winning strategy. Customers can come and rather than hear about a solution, they can see it,” Atkins said.

The BPIC model was adapted from IBM’s WebSphere Innovation Centers, started by Big Blue’s software group, Atkins said. “Now it’s more of a total IBM perspective, bringing the efforts of several groups together,” he said.

IBM Business Partners with BPICs have seen higher yields on their investments and have higher close rates, Atkins said, but he could not provide specific numbers.

“It is a way to shorten the sales cycle and really provide a natural anchor,” he said. “One of the areas we see these centers have a good effect is with SMB prospects. Our experience has been a doubling and tripling of revenue growth in the SMB space. Also, we see this as a more of a natural place for people to do events. We had over 500 events last year [at BPIC locations].”

Bob Venable, manager of enterprise systems for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, attended the opening of the Agilysys event Tuesday and said he liked the concept of seeing a solution before buying it. “Being able to benchmark different configurations in one environment takes a lot of expensive guesswork out of it. It gives the customer confidence to know exactly what they’re getting,” he said.Previously, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee had to borrow or lease equipment to test solutions, Venable added. “To go to a center to prototype different types of platforms or tapes or disk drives in one spot is unusual. It’s a great option,” he said.

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