IBM Hones Offerings For Midmarket Partners


The IT giant has rolled out Express Track, a new online service that gives VARs one-click access to information and events designed to help them better sell IBM products, said Deborah Thompson, vice president of channel solutions and marketing at IBM. Thompson introduced the service Tuesday during an IBM presentation at the XChange '06 conference in St. Louis, held by CRN publisher CMP Technology.

Partners accessing Express Track are presented with a range of offerings that can help them add dollars to their bottom lines, according to Thompson. The services enables partners to find the latest information on IBM's Express Advantage Middleware products plus other sales and marketing services for midmarket customers. Users of Express Track also are automatically registered for the next IBM PartnerWorld Conference, she said.

Express Advantage Middleware, launched earlier this year, is IBM's midmarket software line. The products, designed to be lighter-weight counterparts of IBM's enterprise middleware, include titles such as IBM Express Runtime, Lotus Domino Express, IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Express and Tivoli Monitoring Express, said Mike Gerentine, vice president of global channel and SMB marketing at IBM Software.

IBM hopes the Express Track service will provide more traction with smaller businesses that may deem Big Blue as an enterprise-only vendor, Thompson said. SMBs represent a huge market opportunity, especially as that segment moves away from point products toward solutions, she said.

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To that end, IBM is positioning its Express Seller Channel Program as a way to deliver its most popular products to partners at the right price, said Stephanie Carmel, vice president of worldwide strategic initiative sales for the IBM systems and technology group. The company also will continue to further develop its array of infrastructure solutions for the midmarket, she added.

"The [Express Seller Channel Program] organizes channel partners to be the focal point of the customer experience, for the simple fact that IBM is unapproachable by smaller customers," Thompson said. "We have taken out the complexity from accessibility."