IBM Expands Express Product Portfolio

The three new packaged services engagements are IBM Express IT Strategy Assessment, IBM Express Website Effectiveness Assessment and IBM Express Vulnerability Assessment.

Steve Solazzo, general manager of IBM’s global midmarket business, said the offerings are intended for midmarket prospects with 100 to 1,000 employees that can’t afford to outspend enterprise accounts but that are hoping to tranform their business model using technology. More often than not, they are seeking better business intelligence capabilities, a richer collaborative experience internally and externally, and an improved dialogue with their customers and partners, he said.

“You’ve just got to be more clever, you’ve got to innovate,” Solazzo said.

Murray Mitchell, partner and global leader for small and medium business within IBM Business Consulting Services, said the Express IT Strategy Assessment, for example, covers a period of three to four weeks and focuses on 100 core questions that help a business partner figure out where a client needs to focus. The offering was distilled from a similar enterprise service, but it is priced between $55,000 and $65,000 per engagement.

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What’s more, IBM is improving the potential margin that can be earned on its Express-branded consulting offerings. Partners could previously earn 5 percent for referring this business to IBM, but the company now is emphasizing co-selling arrangements that keep business partners involved in the projects and for which they could earn 10 percent.

The Express Advantage updates this week also include a series of previously announced products from the Tivoli group, including IBM Tivoli Identity Manager Express.

Solazzo said sales successes for the Express line to date have been most obvious within the hardware brands, such as xSeries servers. “We can measure the revenue there in hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars,” he said.

In the software brands, however, the success is tougher to evaluate. “In more than just a small number of instances, we lead with the Express offering and the client ends up buying the full-function offering, which is not a bad thing for the partner or IBM,” Solazzo added. “But it’s a little bit more difficult to gauge the success there.”

On the services side, he said the company is seeing good early results for offerings including Express Managed Services and an RFID application that IBM offers via a software as a service model.

Rick Kearney, president and CEO for Mainline Information Systems, a $500 million IBM business partner in Tallahassee, Fla., that is looking to improve its growth rates in small and midsize accounts, said the new Express Advantage offerings will provide a door-opener for its sales team. “They’re something that reps in the field can get their arms around,” he said.