IBM gives SMBs special attention

In a move to broaden its customer base even further, IBM Corp. on Wednesday announced a portfolio of offerings targeted specifically at small- and medium-sized (SMB) companies, which includes software, hardware and services tailored to the major market segment.

As part of the new IBM Express offerings, Big Blue announced WebSphere Commerce Express, a portal solution that lets SMBs build and manage e-commerce Web sites at a lower cost than with competitive offerings. The solution uses an eServer xSeries system combined with WebSphere Portal Express to give users easier access and simpler customization and management as well as access to content management tools and critical business information.

Developed at IBM’s Toronto lab, WebSphere Commerce Express starts at US$20,000 and will be available for testing in July. Also developed in Toronto, WeSphere MQ Express, an addition to Commerce Express, which enables SMBs to share information across an IT infrastructure, will be available in Q4 for approximately US$4,180.

In addition to the WebSphere offerings, IBM has introduced the eServer Integrated Platform Express for employee workplaces. The platform offers customers an infrastructure to deploy employee workplace portals, the company said. Accommodating companies with 100 to 250 employees, the Linux-based solution creates a virtual workplace where employees can access and manage business data and is specifically tailored for retail, distribution, health care and banking markets. The solution starts at US$35,000 for 20 users and will be available in September.

IBM has also come out with new ThinkPad notebooks and ThinkCentre desktops designed for SMBs. The new models offer similar configurations and delivery of products geared to larger enterprises, but come in at lower price points. IBM is expected to announce the first models in the August timeframe.

For more information visit Big Blue’s Canadian site at