IBM Expands SMB Focus

IBM initiative aims to simplify IT for small and mid-sized clients

April 18, 2008

2 Min Read
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ARMONK, NY -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced an expanded initiative focused on helping small and medium sized clients gain faster access to integrated business solutions that are easier to buy, implement and manage. The new program aims to expand IBM's market presence in the $50 billion systems and storage SMB marketplace.

IBM's Vertical Industry Program (VIP) addresses key IT requirements for SMBs -- the ability to quickly implement integrated business solutions that deliver a fast return on their investment. Core to the IBM VIP Program, IBM has identified sub-industry growth markets that represent a significant business opportunity for IBM systems and storage solutions. This includes local labor unions, wholesalers of specialty products and even tools manufacturers and auto dealerships. While clients in these industries recognize the value of IT they prefer to focus on their core business rather than challenges in integrating IT systems.

Originally launched as a test pilot partner ecosystem for selling AIX applications in 2006, VIP then became the cornerstone channel program for the IBM System i in 2007. Building on this success and increased market demand, IBM is announcing an expansion of the program to support a broader range of IBM hardware and software platforms including IBM Power Systems, BladeCenter and System Storage.

Now, with more than 750 specialized business partners delivering pre-integrated business solutions for more than 160 sub-industries, VIP is truly a global program, spanning 40 countries. Today, VIP supports an extensive array of applications for Partners and customers, and will grow even broader in the coming months.

As a result, IBM Business Partners can take advantage of co-marketing activities, sales support and stronger connections with other IBM Partners that specialize in the same industry. IBM Partners are able to team with other Partners within their local area and vertical sub-industry to gain the benefits of complementary solutions and locally based skills. Clients, therefore, are able to gain faster access to integrated business and IT solutions that are easy to implement, competitively priced, and optimized on IBM technology.The requirements of mid-sized companies are unique. While they need to be as sophisticated as enterprise companies, they are limited by smaller IT staff and less IT integration capabilities. IBM helps meet the needs of these mid-sized clients by providing integrated solutions tailored for their industry and offered by local business partners. Today, over 75 percent of IBM Business Partners are partnering with other business partners to deliver integrated solutions.

"IBM is committed to delivering innovative products and IT delivery capabilities to mid-sized clients. We've done extensive research into this market segment, and as a result we are bringing incredible value and flexibility to IBM partners and customers," said Mark Shearer, Vice President of Marketing and Offerings for IBM Business Systems Division.

IBM Corp.

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