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IBM Urges Business Partners to Take "Advantage" of New Small and Medium Business Initiative

Company-Wide Investment of $500 Million to Help Drive Profitability for Business Partners in Burgeoning SMB Market

WHITE PLAINS, NY - 29 Jan 2003: IBM today announced the IBM Small and Medium Business (SMB) Advantage, a broad initiative designed to help the company's 90,000 Business Partners grow their profit potential and effectively serve the burgeoning $300 Billion SMB technology marketplace. The initiative, which will formally be rolled out at PartnerWorld 2003 in New Orleans next month, consists of channel enablement activities, incentives, demand generation tools and teaming opportunities, all provided under IBM's PartnerWorld program.

"IBM is committed to leveraging the extensive reach and skills our network of Business Partners to deliver e-business on demand solutions and services to the SMB marketplace," said Michael Borman, general manager of Global Business Partners, IBM. "We're backing this commitment up with a $500 million investment in demand generation programs and sales incentives designed to grow Business Partners profit potential in the SMB market."

IBM understands that SMBs have unique and differing technology needs and has invested in the development of products and services designed, priced and marketed specifically for these customers as they become on demand businesses. For example, several recently launched SMB offerings include: WebSphere Application Server Express, WebSphere Portal Express, a comprehensive line of eServers systems for SMBs including the new eServer iSeries integrated servers with on demand capabilities and on demand hosting services from IBM Global Services. These value-priced offerings are packaged for Business Partners to resell and customize.

"IBM is focused on delivering, via our Business Partners, the solutions and services SMB customers need to extend their marketplace leadership," said Marc Lautenbach, general manager of Global Small and Medium Business, IBM. "The new IBM Small and Medium Business Advantage initiative will make it easier for Business Partners to market to the largest growth segment in the IT marketplace. SMB customers are demanding complete solutions which cover hardware, software and services. Only IBM is packaging a set of incentives and channel enablement tools to support partners as they deliver these complete solutions."

IBM Business Partner, MSI - Systems Integrators said IBM's approach differentiates it from the competition. "There are many companies that want us to sell their hardware or their particular application to SMB customers," said Jim Simpson, president & COO, MSI - Systems Integrators, IBM Business Partner. "IBM is the only partner that works with us in creating affordable, end-to-end solutions customized for a small or medium-sized company."

The IBM SMB Advantage initiative includes the following elements:

Channel Enablement
Business Partners need the right programs and relationships to assist them in selling IBM solutions. With this in mind, IBM will launch several enhanced and new channel enablement initiatives at PartnerWorld 2003 including the IBM Small and Medium Business Advantage Web Portal and SMB education via PartnerWorld University. Through these programs Business Partners will have access to new business consulting skills and materials which will enable them to deliver a wide array of solutions from IBM's portfolio of offerings designed to help SMBs become on demand businesses.

Incentives for Growth
IBM today announced three new incentives, for Business Partners which increase the profit potential of sales to SMB customers. Often selling to SMB customers can be costly, these new incentives are designed to off-set this cost.

Demand Generation
IBM has invested $200M in demand generations activities which will allow Business Partners to market to the SMB marketplace. One tool, called Campaign Designer, has over 130 ready-to-use industry specific marketing materials. IBM will also give partners access to prospect data in selected countries to assist Business Partners with execution of co-marketing campaigns. These co-marketing campaigns also will include tele-prospecting offerings which improves response rates and qualified lead rates.**

Teaming Opportunities
In order to assist Business Partners in the delivery of completed solutions IBM is promoting teaming between Business Partners with different specialties via an enhanced Business Partner Connections Program. The program now features improved teaming tools for Business Partners of every type. IBM Business Partners will find teaming playbooks and sales methodologies which can then be complemented by repeatable joint marketing programs all available via the Business Partner Connections program.

"IBM has taken a close look at the SMB market and has delivered a comprehensive and useful initiative which I plan on taking advantage of," said Warren Love, vice president of sales at Integrated Distribution Systems, an IBM Business Partner. "We see a tremendous opportunity in the SMB marketplace and understand the unique needs of these customers. With IBM Small and Medium Business Advantage we now have more tools to make our sales strategies easier to execute and more profitable."

IBM will unveil availability and further details of IBM Small and Medium Business Advantage on February 17 at PartnerWorld 2003 in New Orleans, LA. Terms and condition for all the incentives programs can be accessed at www.ibm.com/partnerworld.

Contact(s) information

Michael Rowinski
IBM Media Relations
(212) 745-6509
rowinski@us.ibm.com

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