IBM is offering $4 billion in financing to help channel partners sell IBM products to their customers, the company said Thursday. IBM also unveiled a mobile app it said would make it easier for partners to apply for customer financing.
The offer comes after $1 billion in financing the company offered in September 2011 was used up in 12 months -- six months faster than the company expected, said Mark Hennessy, general manager of global business partners and midmarket at IBM, Armonk, N.Y.
IBM is particularly aiming the $4 billion toward accelerating sales of its cloud and business analytics products and services, and its PureSystems integrated servers.
"These are the areas where our partners are having great success right now," Hennessy said in an interview. "We're hoping this will be a boost to our partners' businesses and their customers."
The financing is being offered through IBM Global Financing the company's lending and leasing division. Designed to help customers in the current credit-tight economy, the financing will include lease and loan packages -- some starting as low as 0 percent for 12 months with no money down.
IBM has a history of leveraging its IBM Global Financing operation to gain a competitive advantage. In August, for example, the company began offering leasing options through partners to boost sales of its new PureSystems integrated servers. Financing is also a key component of the company's efforts to recruit managed service provider partners.
In September 2011 the company committed $1 billion in financing for SMBs to purchase cloud computing, security and business analytics packages through partners. IBM thought that financing would last 18 months, but Hennessy said it was exhausted within 12 months with some 6,800 customers taking advantage of the offer.
IBM said the new mobile application, also offered through IBM Global Financing, would make it easier for business partners to quickly provide customers with price quotes and credit approvals for contracts worth up to $500,000. The application is based on IBM Global Financing's Rapid Online Financing tool and will be available in the U.S. for iPads, iPhones and Android-based devices starting later this month.
PUBLISHED NOV. 15, 2012