IBM To Offer SMB Package Through Canadian Partners

Pilot program could expand into U.S.

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IBM is rolling out a pilot software package for SMBs through business partners in Canada, CRN has learned.

The package--a bundle of software called BizPak, which incorporates products from IBM's DB2, Lotus, Tivoli and WebSphere brands--could be offered in the United States if the pilot is successful, according to sources familiar with IBM's plans.

Mark Halwa, founder and president of Calgary, Alberta-based solution provider Sandbox Systems, said the program is targeted at the "lower end of the SMB market."

"This idea is catching on because it works for firms that have 100 people," Halwa said.

BizPak was introduced to about 15 Canadian solution providers about a week ago and will be offered starting sometime in the next month through those partners, he said.

Under the BizPak terms, customers receive a package of software with products from each of IBM's software brands at a cost of $500 per user, Halwa said.

Products in the package include Lotus Notes with Collaboration; Domino Application Server; Lotus SameTime; the Tivoli identity manager, access manager and storage manager products; WebSphere Application Server; WebSphere Studio; DB2 Universal Database EE; and IBM Office Connect, said a source close to IBM.

The source, who requested anonymity, said that with the package, IBM "is trying to compete with Microsoft, as well as building the SMB space."

This source added that the program is a pilot in Canada only and is currently being sold through a handful of business partners.

IBM intends to target the U.S. SMB market with a new line of WebSphere Express products, due out sometime in the fall, CRN previously reported. The products are abbreviated versions of some components of its WebSphere line, including the application server and portal products, and will be priced lower than the enterprise versions.

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