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IBM has announced the American launch of its first Smart Business solution, an automated SMB-focused appliance which includes hardware, software and technical support, together with Intuit’s QuickBooks Enterprise accounting software. Starting at less than $8,000, it includes all of the fundamental capabilities needed to run a small or medium business including email, calendaring, security and finances.

"It’s an iPod like appliance for business applications," said Matt Friedman, vice president of marketing, IBM Smart Business. "It makes it incredibly easy for SMBs to get the business applications they need to run their business smarter. We have automated and integrated applications to create a turnkey appliance. And these are scalable and extensible, not just a standard box."

This Smart Business solution was tested in the Indian market. The first customer beta began there in July, and it rolled out in October, where it has been successful in some mid-market companies with 200 to 2000 employees. Its’ principal appeal is simplicity. Manuals and CDs for installation are no longer required. IBM becomes a single source of technical support. And customers will also have access to remote services such as managed security and hosted data backup and recovery services through IBM’s Cloud Services.

The Intuit appliance is only the first of the projected Smart Business solutions available. As of now, in addition to Intuit, 16 other Independent Solution Vendors will be selling 48 business applications to clients across a range of industries including healthcare, telecommunications and manufacturing. Twenty-six of these are already up and running in India.

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