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IBM Announces Availability of Powerful New Solutions for Mid-Sized Companies

Expanding its Express Advantage portfolio to provide mid-sized customers with what they need to be successful in a global marketplace

ARMONK, NY - 28 Apr 2008: Helping mid-sized businesses to minimize business risk and maximize business efficiency in a global economy, IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced the latest additions and enhancements to its mid-market solutions and Express Advantage offerings. 

Additions to the Express Advantage portfolio include two offerings designed to address the growing need for mid-market business continuity solutions -- a security-rich offsite data backup and recovery service, and an e-mail continuity and archiving service. Also available today are a suite of recently announced Internet threat mitigation services and new POWER6™ and Intel processor-based servers, providing increased application choice and reduced energy and administration costs.

IBM Express Advantage combines a comprehensive portfolio of technology offerings, business solutions and financing options with a network of local IBM Business Partners and dedicated Concierge customer support service to create a powerful, end-to-end approach for helping the mid-sized customer increase efficiency, advance their innovation agenda and grow. IBM continues to leverage these capabilities to differentiate itself in the marketplace and drive growth in the $253 billion mid-market, one of IBM’s largest and fastest growing market opportunities.

"The latest Express Advantage offerings address some of the biggest pain points that our customers face and IBM's continued expansion of its portfolio, particularly in security and productivity solutions, is extremely valuable to our business," said Greg Faust, CEO of Valid Technologies. "Express Advantage makes it easy to find and implement solutions that are proven, reliable, and backed by the best of breed support teams. Now more than ever IBM makes it easy to leverage the technical innovations that deliver business differentiation and spur growth."

Mid-sized businesses have many of the same business and technology challenges as large corporations but must solve them with limited resources, time and access to capital. IBM Express Advantage offerings are designed to meet these requirements with pre-integrated, easy-to-buy and easy-to-manage solutions. Details on the latest Express Advantage offerings and Business Partner ecosystem include:

New Express Advantage Business Continuity solutions

IBM Information Protection Services – Remote Data Protection Express is an automatic, security-rich and offsite data backup and recovery service for Windows servers and PCs. This turnkey service for distributed/remote environments includes all of the hardware, software, monitoring and management that mid-sized businesses need to implement an effective data protection strategy. The Remote Data Protection Express service is based on capabilities and expertise gained through IBM’s recent acquisition of Arsenal Digital Solutions, an emerging worldwide leader in on-demand data protection.

IBM Information Protection Services – Data Retention and Archival – E-Mail Management Express enables Business Partners to choose from a newly expanded portfolio including e-mail continuity and e-mail archiving, both with features and options that can be combined to help support diverse e-mail management needs hosted by IBM. With the e-mail continuity service Business Partners gain an on demand backup e-mail system designed to provide consistent and reliable access to their vital e-mail communications while ensuring uninterrupted access to critical e-mail tools and data.

New Express Advantage Security offerings: 

According to Gartner, Inc., small businesses must compensate for having fewer resources than their larger competitors by deploying cost-effective, right-size IT solutions. Gartner predicts that by 2010, 90% of new infrastructure protection security spend for businesses with less than 500 employees will go to security platforms.   To provide mid-sized businesses with security solutions designed and priced to match their requirements, IBM recently announced a portfolio of Express Advantage threat mitigation services and a data security service for messaging. These include:

  • Express Penetration Testing Services – services that uncover an organization’s vulnerabilities by simulating a real network attack and mimicking the techniques used by malicious attackers.
  • Express Multi-Function Security Bundle – new services that provide the most complete do-it-yourself protection against network threats, vulnerabilities, worms, viruses, spy-ware and spam in a single Unified Threat Management (UTM) solution.
  • Express Managed Multi-Function Security Bundle – for clients who prefer a fully managed multi-function security solution, IBM is delivering a suite of products that provide 24/7 comprehensive protection, monitoring, and support a broad array of security services including: firewall, VPN, behavioral & signature antivirus, intrusion prevention security (IPS), anti-spam, and Web filtering.

In a very real sense, the global economy is dependent on IT, making the security of IT infrastructures and data more important than ever. These new offerings provide preemptive, affordable, end-to-end protection for external and internal threats before they impact a business.

New Express Advantage IT Optimization and Systems:

The Express Advantage portfolio also includes recently announced POWER6™ processor-based servers for improved IT optimization and a new energy-efficient server for mid-sized retail environments.

  • IBM BladeCenter HS12 Express: The industry’s first single socket Intel processor-based blade server, specifically designed for clients that are looking for an entry point to adopt blades. Priced starting at $999, the HS12 Express is the most inexpensive blade on the market, making it ideal for cost-conscious small and medium businesses. The HS12 Express offers clients availability, redundancy, scalability and energy management in a simple, easy-to-use package designed to eliminate the need for clients to pay for extra processing power they don’t use.
  • IBM also offers a single socket, Power-based blade. The IBM BladeCenter JS12 Express allows clients to run AIX, Linux and IBM i (i5/OS) on BladeCenter. For mid-sized businesses that want to maximize the return on their IT investments, improve responsiveness of their systems and manage growth, complexity and risk, IBM BladeCenter JS12 Express is a preconfigured blade computing system optimized with storage and memory at an attractive price.
  • IBM Power 520 / 550 Express: The Power 520 and 550 servers meet the needs of medium-sized organizations using UNIX®, IBM i or Linux operating systems that need easy-to-use, easy-to-manage, flexible, and efficient platforms.
  • IBM SurePOS 100 Express: For mid-sized retailers that need the same reliability and performance as large enterprises, this space-saving POS system provides the power to run today’s off-the-shelf and customized software applications for front-end and back-office functions, including checkout and inventory control, while reducing power consumption to help lower total cost of ownership.

In addition, IBM’s acquisition strategy continues to position the company and its Business Partners to capture growth in the mid-market and help customers accelerate their innovation agendas. With each strategic acquisition, IBM enhances its solutions for the mid-market and extends existing cross-company software and related services offerings. 

As demonstrated by recent acquisitions of Cognos, ISS, and Net Integration, IBM is enhancing its capabilities to build leading-edge solutions for the mid-market. With Cognos, for example, one of those offerings is the recently announced IBM Cognos TM1 Mid-Market Edition, a business analytics solution that facilitates financial performance management by providing collaborative tools for budgeting, planning, forecasting, analysis and reporting.

“These latest Express Advantage offerings combined with the industry skills and local delivery capabilities of our worldwide business partner community are helping mid-market companies solve their toughest business challenges and innovate for success in today’s global marketplace,” said Steve Solazzo, general manager, IBM General Business.

New Express Advantage Business Partner incentives and offerings:

IBM also introduced new, incremental Business Partner incentives to fuel growth in this multi-billion dollar mid-market opportunity, with a potential global payout totaling more than $50 million for selling IBM POWER6 and high-end storage solutions to mid-market clients. These incentives, coupled with new and expanded partner programs, demonstrate IBM's continued focus on helping business partners drive growth and better serve the needs of customers.

IBM also introduced two new Solutions Builder Express Starting Points to help Business Partners speed the creation, delivery and implementation of their solutions thereby reducing time of implementation by 50 percent. These Starting Points include core technical assets, implementation guides, and support from IBM. They enable IBM Business Partners to build complete industry-specific solutions for their mid-sized clients faster and at a lower cost.

One of the new Starting Points, Assess and Protect for Server Security, provides instructions on how to deploy the most comprehensive, host-based, risk mitigation solutions. The second, Lotus Complete Collaboration Express Starter Guide, offers installation and configuration procedures for security rich, reliable collaboration solutions which include real-time unified messaging. Over 60 percent of mid-size firms say that collaboration tools are imperative to their business success and growth. This Starting Point helps with the deployment of those collaboration solutions that mid-market companies need to succeed.

In addition, IBM is also expanding key tools and services to facilitate the growing business partner ecosystem. The addition of Express Advantage offerings plus other selected mid-market solutions to IBM’s Grow Your Business with IBM Software tool enables business partners to effectively sell new software offerings in the mid-market. This tool now provides over 50 recommended products and over 130 recommended cross-sell scenarios, as well as information on sales and technical resources, links to specific IBM sales and marketing materials and estimated return on investment. A new synchronized download capability delivers Grow Your Business with IBM Software to the desktop, giving business partners the ability to use the tool anywhere, anytime, with instant up-to-date access to new content and recommendations.

New IBM Global Financing offerings:

To support Business Partner growth in the mid-market space, IBM Global Financing, the lending and leasing business segment of IBM has recently expanded its online IBM Flexible CreditTM   financing program, designed to provide mid-market resellers incremental lines of credit they can use to purchase technology products and services from their suppliers or distributors, including IBM. 

With the IBM Flexible Credit program, qualified resellers can easily apply online with no financial statements for credit lines that range from $100K - $500K. IBM Flexible Credit also offers resellers a free-financing period, with no interest charges for 30, 45 or 60 days after purchase, depending on each Supplier's program. The IBM Flexible Credit program has expanded its availability to Canada and the UK.

For more information about Express Advantage and the new Express Advantage offerings, visit www.ibm.com/expressadvantage.

Contact(s) information

Will Jordan
IBM Media Relations
914-766-1353
wgjordan@us.ibm.com

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1 Gartner, "Predicts 2008: SMBs Will Use Simplified IT Solutions to Drive Business Success," by Adam Hils, Robert P. Anderson, Ellie Babaie, James A. Browning, Joslyn Faust, Daniel O'Connell, John Bace, 12 December 2007.

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