IBM Perks Up Express Portfolio With New Offerings For SMBs

The Express portfolio packages existing products in bundles or special SKUs specifically for these customers, said Tom Grimes, global marketing manager for small and midsize business in Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM's Personal Computing Division.

The goal is to make it easier for these customers to acquire the products and services they need at competitive prices, whether buying from IBM direct or via solution providers, Grimes said. Unlike special pricing programs, however, Express packages do not require specific requests from solution providers.

>> Among its new Express offerings, IBM is adding three new ThinkPad models.

Tracy Barney, vice president of IBM business development at ComputerTech, a Houston solution provider, said the Express program has been very successful in offering standardized configurations of products with competitive prices and features specifically for small and midsize businesses.

As an example, Barney said, ThinkPad notebook PCs under Express might carry a different warranty from other ThinkPads, even though they are the same product. "For instance, the R series of ThinkPads usually carry a one-year warranty," she said. "But customers can buy the Express model with a three-year warranty to match their depreciation rates."

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Another key feature is that with the packaging efficiency, smaller companies can purchase products or bundles that normally require special bids, said Barney.

Among its new Express offerings, IBM is adding three new ThinkPad models, including the R51, the R58 and the 2.7-pound X40, said Grimes. "These are not scaled-down ThinkPads for smaller businesses," he said. "They are full-function models."

IBM is also adding three new print packages.

IBM Infoprint Express adds a selection of printers with speeds from 12 ppm to 50 ppm for small and midsize businesses with prices starting at $700 for a laser-based multifunction printer. IBM Infoprint Express for iSeries packages either laser printers or impact printers with management software specifically for iSeries servers. IBM Infoprint Express for ERP packages Sweden-based StreamServe's business communications software with services from IBM Global Services for customers using SAP or Oracle.

Also new to Express is an IT education package under which customers can pre-pay for IBM training classes in bulk at a discount but use the training as they see fit.