Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

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.