IBM has expanded its Express portfolio with new templates that will make it easier for partners and resellers to develop products for midsize customers in vertical markets.
The new bundles include collaborative document management tools for banking Web sites, analytics applications for e-commerce, and a portal offering for IBM's iSeries servers.
This latest announcement is one of several that IBM has made in recent months as part of a $500 million campaign targeting business partners selling in the midsized market. In January, the company's software group underwent a major overhaul , realigning its development, marketing and sales teams within vertical markets.
Clearly, the strategy has paid off for IBM.
IBM has gained 10,000 new small and medium-sized business (SMB) customers (many of whom are existing or new iSeries server users) in the first half of this year -- more than double the number it attracted during the first half of 2003, said Kevin Hooper, director of SMB sales and business development. In fact, the group has already surpassed the number of new SMB software customers it had in 2003 altogether.
"We're starting to see the fruits of what we did," Hooper said. "Doing twice as much as we did the previous year and exceeding our expectations to this extent is pretty stunning."
Hooper said that while it's difficult to attribute these gains to a single strategy, he believes a huge part of the success is because IBM is providing its business partners better resources.
As part of this new initiative, IBM is adding five new industry "Solution Starting Points" to its Solutions Builder Express Portfolio. The new Starting Points include: collaborative document management in banking, retail e-commerce Web site, collaborative community and employee portals for IBM eServer iSeries, cross-industry B2B e-commerce and B2C e-commerce analytics.
According to Hooper, each Starting Point provides detailed information on design, deployment, technical architecture, hardware and software specifications, installation and integration.
Since its launch at PartnerWorld this year, Solutions Builder Express has delivered 12 Starting Points and thousands of technical and sales assets to IBM Business Partners working with Express middleware. Business Partners of all membership levels can now access 17 Starting Points through the Solutions Builder Express portal.
In addition to Starting Points, IBM is also launching Jump Start, a limited-time offering to help Business Partners quickly adopt and employ the assets included in the Solutions Builder Express portfolio. Through Jump Start, selected IBM Business Partners will have direct access to Solutions Builder Express development support, including extensive e-mail, telephone and on-site resources. Participants will be selected based on several criteria, including solution area and industry focus.
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