Big Blue Supersizes Its SMB Ambitions

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Big Blue has supersize ambitions for the SMB market, based on recent remarks from CEO Sam Palmisano.


As reported in eWEEK's Channel Insider, Palmisano told attendees of IBM's PartnerWorld conference that the SMB market will become the company's largest customer segment within five years, overtaking the financial services sector. IBM's defines "SMBs" as companies with 250 to 1,000 employees, a pretty broad swathe, but one that leaves out lots of folk at the lower end of the scale.


Palmisano urged IBM's channel partners to base their businesses on IT-enabled business processes, collaboration and innovation -- sort of the holy trinity of IBM's Big Blue universe. The CEO stressed the importance of blade servers, managed services, SOA, virtualization and converged software and services, all of which play significant roles in IBM's product blueprint.


IBM is certainly putting its money where Palmisano's mouth is. As part of its effort to woo SMBs across the globe, IBM intends to spend more than $200 million to expand its Express Advantage program beyond North America, reports InfoWorld. Inspired perhaps by analyst reports that suggest SMBs in Asia and Europe will take up some of the slack in North American spending, IBM will roll out the program in 23 countries.


There are more than 160 Express products -- including the DB2 database, WebSphere middleware, Lotus groupware, and Tivoli systems management software, along with the servers, storage, and services -- and more than 800 third-party Built on Express solutions.