IBM Smart Business at TEC 2010!!

What is IBM doing to appeal to small business with everyday needs? We see plenty of headlines about cell-based supercomputers, 1000-node clusters, systems with 32-cores of processing power and dozens of LPARs but what about the small business user, who thinks 2 cores are 1 more than needed? What is IBM doing to provide value and appeal to them?

 This brings us to the topic of IBM Smart Business. It’s IBM’s Systems and SW offering to appeal to the small business market and compete with Microsoft. I’ve been following the Smart Business developments closely for a year now and I have had excellent meetings with key leaders such as Amy Anderson and Mike Prochaska in New York, Rochester and San Francisco. I am very pleased to report that we are bringing Smart Business on our TEC 2010 agenda, Amy Anderson has confirmed the session and so now we can unveil this project in Canada and you can see for yourself! In fact, there is a strong connection between this program and the fact that SugarCRM and Zend are coming to TEC.

 The IBM Smart Business Initiative (formerly Blue Business Platform) was launched in 2009. The genesis of the project was to create a new integrated system offering for small business that offers application selection, ease of use, and integration. These values sound very familiar to old AS/400 shops, because they are the same. The launched offering consisted of three major components:       

  1.  Smart Market:  Electronic marketplace of applications organized around customer business (such as industry, size, and business needs).
  2. Smart Cube: Appliance-like system which comes in configurations to match requirement, is pre-loaded with deep integrated software stack and supports SaaS and Cloud extensions.
  3. Smart Desk: included with every Smart Cube, provides a single,  consistent interface to install, configure, manage, license, administer, and maintain Smart Cube and IBM Smart Business applications and services: always ON and connected.

 Smart Business can be thought of as the application system equivalent of a set-top box for cable TV. You plug the box into the internet. It auto-configures. You shop for the movies (applications) you want. They get downloaded, configured and maintained for you automatically. You watch (use) them as you please, pay and can always order extra features. The system always knows what you are doing and you get instant support/access/diagnostics. Through this, cost of sales, operations and support is greatly reduced and thus it as excellent value for the customer.

The OS selection for the smart cube is as follows:

  • Intel Smart Cube: Linux
  • Power Smart Cube: IBM i

 It includes a middleware software stack which is “deeply integrated” as OEM components. ISVs are encouraged to leverage these. Much of the real value in the SB platform comes from the web/electronic support, single point of contact and the partner portal/repository.

 The initial launch was in India and USA. India was chosen because of growth and use of the English language. The USA launch featured Inutit QuickBooks Enterprise. The third launch is Italy. IBM has a strong bundle with the Top Italiani iSV (ACG) who have re-written the app, coupled a pricing model and channel strategy to replace old inventory and add new footprints. Apparently, this was a huge success

 For 2010, Smart Business is going mainstream and has been integrated into IBM’s Cloud strategy and Software group.

Come to TEC… learn first-hand about IBM SmartBusiness.

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