IBM Rolls Out Global SMB Financing Program

The IBM Financing Advantage program is targeted at SMB customers and was tested in the United States during fourth-quarter 2004, said Jonathan Morris, vice president of Worldwide Business Partner Financing.

"We have seen a minimum of 20 to 30 percent increase in [financing business] from these tools," Morris said. "I would like to think that would become a higher number as we get more experience with it."

Lisa Friesenhahn, director of leasing at Avnet Partner Solutions, Tempe, Az., said Avnet solution providers have won deals that never would have closed because of the improved efficiencies of Financing Advantage.

Tools that make up the Financing Advantage include client pre-approval, transaction pre-approval and an auto quote feature that cuts loan processing time from days to under an hour, in most cases, Morris said.

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Morris said the financing and leasing program covers hardware, software and services for both IBM and non-IBM products.

"We are very keen to pick up all IT business; this is not just an IBM play," he said.

However, for amounts under $100,000, he said the plan covers a software and services deal only if it is comprised exclusively of IBM offerings. If it is under $100,000 and is only partially composed of IBM products, the plan requires at least one-third of the amount financed to include hardware.