IBM, Ingram Micro Bring Simplified Technology to Small Business

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

IBM will distribute its IBM Smart Cube through Ingram Micro. Designed for small business and midsized business, the IBM Smart Cube combines server hardware together with standard software applications that every business needs, such as e-mail, finance and security. The IBM deal with Ingram Micro is viewed as a move to tap into resellers and channel partners to take the solution to small business customers.

IBM authorized resellers and channel partners can now get IBM’s Smart Cube product – billed as an IT department in a box for small business and midsized business -- through distributor Ingram Micro, the companies have announced.

The combined hardware, software and technical support solution that features an IBM server together with applications such as Intuit’s QuickBooks, offers small businesses and midsized businesses a "pre-integrated, automated appliance," according to the companies.
And that’s a message that is likely to resonate with small businesses today as they look to meet the challenges of complex IT environments and declining IT budgets, analysts say.

"The last thing small businesses need right now is yet one more server or product that needs a huge amount of attention and babying," says Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. "With a product like this IBM/Intuit Smart Cube they don’t have to. This is the sort of solution that small business needs right now."

The Ingram Micro deal will give IBM access to the giant distributor’s huge roster of channel partners who serve the SMB space, says King, which will be helpful to IBM which has a reputation of being an enterprise vendor. And VARs will get an easier sale to small business.

"The Smart Business solution, which combines the hardware, software and technical support, really simplifies the sale for VARs and makes deploying and managing the technology and its applications incredibly easy," says Scott Zahl, vice president of vendor management at Ingram Micro tells Channel Insider. "It’s a particularly good fit for our channel partners who service vertical markets such as independent retailers, manufacturing and health care."

The companies say that Smart Cube includes all of the basic business applications that all businesses need, such as e-mail, calendaring, security and finances.

"The requirements of small and medium businesses are unique – they need to be as sophisticated as enterprise companies, but they are limited by smaller IT staffs and fewer IT integration capabilities," says Juhi Jotwani, vice president, IBM Smart Business, in a prepared statement. "IBM Smart Business is able to provide a salve for this - a breakthrough way for businesses to acquire, use and manage technology that is radically simple. By partnering with Ingram Micro to distribute this new offering through our joint Business Partners, we will be reaching a broad market of small and medium sized businesses."

Ingram Micro says that initially, 18 ISVs will be selling business applications for Smart Business. More ISVs will be added monthly.  


Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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