IBM Adds Solutions Financing To Mid-Market Bundles

Cost Buster initiative allows channel partners to include financing with five pre-packaged, mid-market collections.

IBM Corp. said that it has added a financing option, through its IBM Global Financing arm, to a series of pre-configured, mid-market directed solution bundles intended to help channel partners better address customers’ business needs and ease budget constraints.

The vendor has incorporated tailored financing into a series of five, partner-ready, hardware and software collections, called IBM Cost Buster Solutions, framed around business analytics, help desk, IT monitoring, collaboration and data protection.

“Partners have had the pieces of these solutions before but it hasn’t been tightly bundled together with financing,” said Sandy Carter, IBM Software vice president, business partner organization.

IBM’s financing options typically are reserved for the technology itself rather than sets of specific solutions, she said.

The vendor’s Cost Buster bundles feature its hardware and software products but not services, Carter said. IBM is urging channel partners to add their own services to the mix.

Carter said that the Cost Buster initiative is intended to help mid-market businesses more readily afford solutions that address critical business needs.

For example, IBM’s mid-market business analytics collection includes Cognos business intelligence and performance management software, an SPSS predictive analytics solution, System x hardware and storage, “all packaged together with special financing,” Carter said.

“We want to help partners spend more time understanding the customer’s business rather than concentrating just on the technology,” she said.

“These solutions address what the customer wants to do and how they want to grow. Essentially, it allows our partners to offer customers a combination of IBM hardware and software, adding in their own services, into one bundled, financed solution,” she said.

Fits mid-market customers’ buying criteria

Carter said that IBM research shows that return-on-investment, financial impact and time-to-value are the top three purchasing criteria relied on by mid-market customers making buying decisions.

A fourth purchasing factor is whether the partner's solution maps to a knowledge of the customer’s business, she said.

“This offer addresses all of these factors,” she said. “We want to help our business partners spend more time with their customers.”

The Cost Buster solutions also allow partners to customize the financing options from a variety of terms and conditions.

“Business partners can propose to us the terms of the deal to help the client fit the situation to their need and their market,” Carter said.

“Financing can start at zero percent and terms can range from monthly to 12 or 18 months,” she said.

Channel partners also are eligible to receive a fee for including financing in the solution. The vendor’s variety of incentive packages available to channel partners for selling into the mid-market can add up to 50 percent of the value of a sale, Carter said.

This most recent version of the Cost Buster offer follows a pilot that the vendor ran last year, Carter said.

“We wanted to see if solutions financing could bring quantifiable results from our partners,” she said.

In the pilot, one business partner, Silvermoon Business Systems, a maker of insurance software solutions, accelerated its time to market by 50 percent at a lower cost, attributing the bump to the solutions financing it was able to offer to its customers, Carter said.

She said that IBM will run the Cost Buster offer through the end of this year and evaluate the results before considering other solution sets.

TAGS: software,IBM,financing,mid-market,IBM Global Financing

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