IBM is spending several million dollars fleshing out its Express Advantage programme.
At its PartnerWorld event in St Louis last week, Big Blue announced that after piloting the programme in the US, Express Advantage will now be expanded globally, backed up by a $200m investment.
The vendor is also adding more products and services to the scheme it originally launched around this time last year. Express Advantage is based around IBM’s SME push, with products, services and marketing aimed at the mid-market, an area which
chief executive Sam Palmisano said in his keynote was critical to IBM’s future growth (CRN Online, 2 May).
Speaking to CRN, Steve Solazzo, general manager, global mid-market business at IBM, said the launch would be backed up by localised marketing campaigns. “We trialled it in six US tier-two cities, including right here in St Louis,” he said.” We will be doing very localised marketing, advertising campaigns and demand generation.”
The campaigns will run under the slogan “Simple”, as IBM aims to convince the mid-market that it is easy to do business with. “What began as a worldwide, top down Express Advantage strategy has been embraced by local markets,” Palmisano said.
“Our heritage has been doing a small number of transactions with a large number of large companies. We’ve been changing this over the past 20 years, but still have work to do.”
IBM has also added new products to the programme, which the vendor said already has 160-SME focused products within it.
David Stone, vice-president of business development at IBM VAR Solutions II, said: “We wanted to get to the nirvana of double digit growth, but as an SME that is almost impossible because there are so many complex choices.
“We now help our customers to figure out exactly what we had to figure out. I have the same problems as my customers and IBM helped us to deliver value to the customer, using Express Advantage, which helps to bring value to us, which in turn allows us to expand and help other SMEs.”
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