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IBM Expands Express Advantage Program, Fueling Mid-Market Innovation and Growth

IBM solutions along with a strong partner network and enhanced customer service capabilities help mid-sized businesses focus on innovation and growth

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ST. LOUIS, MO - 30 Apr 2007: Today at its PartnerWorld 2007 Conference, IBM (NYSE: IBM) is announcing the significant global expansion of its Express Advantage program for mid-sized businesses. IBM Express Advantage combines a comprehensive set of mid-market offerings, IBM Business Partner resources and customer experience capabilities to create a unified, end-to-end approach to helping mid-market companies innovate and grow.

Launched last year in North America, IBM is introducing Express Advantage in 23 additional countries providing a platform for continued growth in the mid-market. IBM also announced a range of new and enhanced Express Advantage systems, software, and services offerings to complement its industry-leading mid-market portfolio, new end-to-end IBM Business Partner resources to fuel growth in the mid-market, as well as simplified access to IBM and IBM’s Business Partners to make innovation easy for customers. To support the global expansion of Express Advantage, IBM will also spend more than $200M to generate demand through its new integrated mid-market program framework.

A recent survey conducted by IBM polled 1,200 mid-market firms from around the world in various industries and found nearly two out of three businesses plan to make more than one change in their business model over the next two years in order to better compete and drive expansion. Around the world, mid-sized businesses are increasingly looking beyond traditional markets and lines of business to expand their operations.

“IBM Express Advantage is the foundation of IBM's mid-market strategy and the catalyst that enables 'innovation made easy' for our customers,” said Surjit Chana, Vice President of Marketing for IBM Global Small and Medium Business. "This significant expansion of Express Advantage to twenty-three additional countries demonstrates our company-wide commitment to providing the offerings, business partner ecosystem and tools that mid-sized companies need to solve their toughest business challenges, innovate and grow."

The newest Express Advantage offerings include

In addition to the new Express Advantage offerings, IBM is also announcing many new resources for IBM Business Partners, designed specifically to provide them with end-to-end support as they deliver solutions to their mid-sized customers.

New resources and tools for IBM Business Partners include enhanced PartnerWorld Express Advantage web portals around the world, new and enhanced Solutions Builder Express starting points and an enhanced Solutions Consultant Express Tool.

IBM also introduced a new Business Continuity specialty offering market insights, technical enablement, go-to-market support and sales linkage to help IBM Business Partners deliver business continuity solutions.

Mid-sized customers around the world will also benefit from an expansion and enhancement of the Express Advantage Concierge/customer support team providing easy access to live mid-market skilled representatives from IBM who can respond to a variety of customer needs. This support team is available to any mid-sized company regardless of whether or not they are a current IBM customer and can help companies find the answers needed to solve business problems, find a local IBM Business Partner, or help them connect to the right IBM resources and technology.

"IBM Express Advantage enables Connectria, and other IBM Business Partners, to offer our clients’ valuable business and technology solutions that are specifically designed to meet their needs. With Express Advantage products and services we know it's been designed for and will solve our customers' problems and allow them to continue to focus on the growth and expansion of their business," said Chris Miller, Director of Messaging & Collaboration Technologies at Connectria.

IBM Express Advantage was designed to ensure mid-market businesses have simple solutions to tough problems based on a comprehensive line of offerings that are priced and designed specifically for mid-sized companies with support from our vast network of IBM Business Partners. Additionally, IBM Financing Advantage is available for IBM Express Advantage offerings and solutions. It offers small and mid-sized clients easy access to the capital they need to grow and innovate, great rates and easy to understand contracts.

Details on new offerings:

Express Advantage offerings: Simple solutions for business challenges

The latest round of Express Advantage offerings address pain points mid-sized companies have named as primary challenges to growth and profitability.

The System i 515 Express for 5-40 users is a complete, simple IT infrastructure designed to keep pace with a growing enterprise. It has built-in virus resistance, database, storage and systems management technology as well as a built-in workload manager that allows clients to run and manage multiple applications independently on one system instead of deploying a new server every time they need another application.

The system i 525 Express for mid-size clients offers all the benefits of the System i 515 along with expansion options to easily accommodate more applications and users. Clients can start small and grow the system to meet new business demands thanks to Capacity on Demand, which provides the ability to purchase the system with one processor activated to run current applications and then activate a second processor to meet new application demands.

IBM System Storage TS2340 Tape Drive Express Model is an external stand-alone or rack-mountable tape drive incorporating the latest generation of IBM LTO technology. It’s a complete package for networked servers or individual workstations, archiving and retrieving data dependably and consistently.

The new IBM Lotus Complete Messaging Express Starter Pack and the new IBM Lotus Complete Collaboration Express Starter Pack pair IBM Lotus Domino Express and IBM Lotus Sametime in a single package available in 10-user license increments. These offerings are designed to be a new low-cost, high-value solution that provides IBM Business Partners with a compelling package for mid-market companies that need a complete collaboration solution to run their business more effectively.

The Lotus Complete Messaging Express Starter Pack makes it faster, easier and less expensive for mid-market companies to deploy secure and reliable e-mail, calendaring and scheduling, document libraries, blogs, Voice Over Internet Protocols (VoIP), instant messaging, point-to-point video and Web conferencing. The IBM Lotus Complete Collaboration Express Starter Pack includes all these capabilities and adds online team rooms and support for thousands of existing third-party Lotus Domino applications -- many of which are designed to support core business processes for mid-size companies spanning a wide variety of industries.

Express Advantage IBM Business Partner Ecosystem

In addition to new offerings, IBM has strengthened its network of IBM Business Partners with new tools designed to help partners expand their capabilities to sell to the mid-market.

IBM is expanding the PartnerWorld Industry Networks resources and support to provide a new mid-market IBM Business Partner Business Continuity Specialty. IBM Business Partners will be provided with:

IBM is also expanding and enhancing Solutions Builder Express to include new solution starting points. Solution starting points are just as their name suggests – starting points for the top IT solutions requested by mid-sized customers to which IBM Business Partners add their high value customization and services to complete the solution.

Express Advantage: Customer Experience

IBM Express Advantage Concierge was introduced last year at PartnerWorld 2006 in March as a new customer support team that provides simplified access to IBM’s extensive arsenal of people and resources. This year the customer support team concept will be extended to many new countries across the world providing mid-sized customers with a dedicated service that quickly and simply connects them with the right person to answer their questions. In the US, mid-sized customers can dial 1-877-IBM-ACCESS for support.

For more information about the Express Advantage initiative and the new Express Advantage offerings visit www.ibm.com/expressadvantage. For more information on PartnerWorld Express Advantage, the new IBM Business Partner Business Continuity Specialty, and Solutions Builder Express, please visit www.ibm.com/partnerworld/smb.

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