IBM Unveils New Express Services Offerings For SMBs

The new offerings, aimed at storage, security, and systems management, are the latest in the company's Express solution series, which are aimed at providing low cost, easy to use, and easy to deploy solutions to smaller companies, said Elaine Case, director of offerings portfolio and influencer marketing at IBM.

The first offering, IBM eServer OpenPower Network e-Mail Security Express, is an appliance aimed at providing an existing network with e-mail anti-virus and anti-spam capabilities, said Case.

The company also introduced IBM Express Managed Security Services for e-mail security. This provides e-mail filtering for viruses and spam like the e-mail security appliance, but is a managed service, Case said.

The appliance is priced starting at $144 per month on a 36-month lease, but is also available for outright purchase, said Case. For customers that prefer to have the functionality as a managed service, the price starts at $4.25 per seat per month, with the monthly fee dropping to as low as $1, depending on number of seats.

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"We want to meet customer needs in different ways," she said. "Some customers want to keep their technology in-house. Many, however, say they don't want to deal with it. They just want a clean e-mail. Either way, it's the same result."

Also new from IBM is IBM Express Implementation Services for Storage Consolidation. With this service, IBM personnel go to a midrange customer deploying its first SAN and help with assessment, setting up, migrating data, optimizing performance, and training of someone on the customer's IT staff, Case said.

The fixed price of the service is $8,500. "We go to the customer and say, here's the service, here's what we do, here's how long it will take," she said.

IBM also unveiled IBM Express Desktop Management Services, aimed at offering a set of services to companies with large numbers of desktop PCs. It is based on IBM's ThinkVantage technology, developed by the company's PC division and incorporating many of the company's autonomic computing capabilities, said Case.

Services included under this program include backup and restore, password recovery and reset, secure remote user access, virus protection, and patch management, she said.

Customers can either pay a one-time fee of $1,875 for the ThinkVantage engine and $19 per seat over five seats, or they can pay $8 to $10 per PC per month, which averages out to be about $11,200 per year for 50 PCs, Case said.

Solution providers can participate in the new services to get recurring revenue in one of four different ways, said Case. Those who prefer a hands-off approach to services can work on a fee-for-lead basis. Solution providers can also sign a closed contract with the customer and let IBM handle the implementation. They can also serve as the prime integrator of such services and sub-contract to IBM on the implementation. Solution providers can also resell IBM's services.

"We are offering a lot of flexibility for our partners," she said. "This set of Express offerings was built for solution providers, because in the midrange, customers depend on them."