IBM-Clear Technologies' Strategic Alliance to Help Mid-Market Businesses Better Manage Customer Relationships

Alliance to Leverage Clear's C2 CRM Software and IBM Hardware, Middleware and Services to Serve $40 Billion Marketplace

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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. & DALLAS - 26 Sep 2002: IBM and Clear Technologies today announced a strategic alliance to deliver C2 CRM, a web-based customer loyalty solution that helps organizations better support their customers, partners and employees. The IBM/Clear Technologies solutions will target North American mid-market customers in the wholesale distribution, industrial and services industries. Technology analysts predict the U.S. SMB market alone will spend more than $40 billion on CRM software over the next ten years.

Additionally, analysts suggest CRM applications may suffer from their own complexity. Mid-size companies that outgrow PC-based contact managers cannot necessarily digest an all-encompassing ERP-style CRM solution. As Gartner, Inc. reports, SMBs don't want large enterprise solutions at discount prices or with minor modifications, such as a few features turned off. SMBs want products and services designed, priced and delivered from vendors that understand their needs and are committed to meeting them.

Combined IBM and Clear Technologies solutions are designed for rapid implementation and minimal training to accelerate user adoption across an organization. A web-based 30-module CRM solution that is customized to client requirements, Clear Technologies' C2 currently is used by a number of prominent mid-sized corporations. By offering C2, IBM and Clear aim to provide a comprehensive, modular solution that can be rapidly implemented and can be scaled appropriately as the organization grows.

"Partnering to serve the SMB market is an important cornerstone in IBM's strategy to provide best-of-breed applications for this growing customer set," said Hoon-Meng Ong, Vice President of Marketing, Global Small and Medium Business, IBM. "Clear is an ideal mid-market CRM partner because their C2 product is specifically designed for the segment. It's a comprehensive CRM package for growing mid-market companies that need the functionality of an enterprise-wide system without the high costs of implementation, training and support."

C2 CRM is designed to help mid-market companies increase organizational efficiency, strengthen customer loyalty, boost sales, improve business processes and increase marketing effectiveness. Accessible to everyone in the organization via the web, C2 offers instant access to critical customer and prospect information to enable users to maximize their opportunities and increase customer satisfaction.

"We based C2's design on a decade's worth of direct feedback from small and medium-sized customers," said Greg Colley, President and CEO of Clear Technologies. "Our longstanding collaboration with IBM has placed Clear and IBM in an exceptional position to increase our share of the SMB market. The combination of IBM's high quality middleware and dependable hardware plus Clear's comprehensive, competitive C2 software allows us to establish early leadership in this segment."

Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies will jointly market C2 running on the IBM eServer iSeries(TM), pSeries(TM) and xSeries(TM) hardware platforms and related operating systems, storage devices and IBM middleware technologies including WebSphere, Lotus and DB2 database software. IBM, Clear Technologies and other involved business partners will provide consulting, customization and integration services as needed for each C2 sale.

A history of working together
Clear Technologies has had a strong relationship with IBM for more than 10 years. For example, its C2 solution is also offered through IBM's Start Now Solutions Proven initiative, a program that helps IBM solution provider business partners reach SMB customers and rapidly implement powerful, cost-effective, e-business solutions from leading ISVs. Today's announcement enhances the key relationship enabling IBM and Clear Technologies to jointly deliver complete solutions, including hardware, software and services to customers.

The Clear Technologies strategic alliance is another example of IBM's commitment to go-to-market with leading independent software vendors. Under this initiative, IBM is targeting industries such as financial services, legal, healthcare and manufacturing, and solution segments including enterprise resource planning, supply chain management, customer relationship management and business intelligence. The goal is to provide developers with access to new customers and revenue opportunities through IBM's marketing, sales, and solutions resources. In return, developers commit to lead with IBM's middleware, server platforms, and services.

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