IBM Offers Services that Sell Like Hardware

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print


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News: IBM Global Services has created a catalog-like set of productized managed services that Big-Blue says should make selling service like selling hardware.

IBM Global Services has created a set of productized managed services designed for small and midsize businesses that are available through its channel partners.

The Armonk, N.Y.-based technology giant said it was reaffirming its commitment to the channel by making these packaged services, called "Service Products," available to be sold the same way partners sell computer systems or software licenses.

And that approach holds great appeal for IBM's channel partners.

"It's easier for our sales people to sell these to end customers because they are more productized," said Mark A. Wyllie, senior director at Mainline Disaster Recovery Services, a Tallahassee, Fla.-based IBM channel partner. Previously sales reps would have to put together customized service offerings, he added.

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IBM's initial services include three offerings, all from the IBM Managed Security Service side of the business. They are Unified Threat Management, Intrusion Prevention Systems, and Shared Firewalls.

"We are seeing a big demand for these types of services within SMBs," Wyllie said. In the past such services may have been out of the price range for smaller businesses, so many don't have them yet.

The IBM Unified Threat Management Managed Security Service gives SMBs the option of buying services for any one of several security services, including unified threat management, firewall, intrusion prevention, VPN, anti-virus, Web filtering and anti-spam.

The Shared Intrusion Prevention Systems provide clients with a higher level of security at a much lower cost than typically available through a dedicated appliance because it lets end customers purchase into a shared service on an appliance owned by the service provider, Wyllie said.

Similarly, the Shared Firewalls give customers front-line security at a low cost by allowing them to share the service rather than buying hardware.

"These new offerings with help us go after the SMB space," said Doug McMaster, vice president of business development at NTT Communications, a New York-based international telecommunications company and a longtime partner of IBM using ISS Managed Security Services. "The pricing is better, and it's more geared toward that space."

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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