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In its continued quest to gain relevance among midmarket customers,
IBM this week took the wraps off a handful of new solutions aimed at
companies with between 100 and 1,000 employees.

The offerings, which span across Big Blue’s software portfolio, have
been tested to ensure they are simple for midsize companies to install
and manage, priced affordably and attached to trained IBM business
partners to resell, deploy and add services.

“This is not just a list of products, but we really focused these
things on pain points and solutions areas,” said Ed Abram, vice
president of marketing for IBM’s General Business group.

“We put these soft bundles together for our partners and our
partners have said that we’ve got it right. It’s easy to order,
configure, wrap their own stuff around the solutions and then sell.”

The new solutions include:

•    IBM Rational AppScan OnDemand: This is a
software-as-a-service solution that solution providers can use to
pinpoint and prioritize application security and compliance issues.
Pricing for the service is flexible and determined on a case-by-case
basis. Managed services providers, for example, can deploy this
technology to remotely scan customers’ applications.

•    Tivoli Foundations Application Manager and
Tivoli Foundations Service Manager: These two solutions are
appliance-based to enable partners to monitor the performance of their
customer’s infrastructure and also provide SaaS-based help-desk

•    IBM Software Services-Enhanced Technical Support
Gateway: Also a service, the ETS Gateway is aimed at helping to
maximize infrastructure availability on IBM Power Systems.

•    IBM System Storage DS3950 Express: This is the
next-generation mid-tier desk system for handling data-intensive
applications and mixed workload environments.

In the past, Abrams told Channel Insider, IBM has delivered
midmarket offerings on a piecemeal basis, but since the advent of the
company’s Smarter Planet initiative it has strived to create more
integrated solutions that directly attack a particular business or
technology problem facing customers of this mid-range size.

Abrams says more than even the enterprise, midmarket companies
consider Smarter Planet initiatives – which include more integrated and
efficient use of technology for business results – a “game changer” for
them. He cites IBM’s recent survey of 2,500 midmarket CIOs as one proof
point that this segment of the market is eyeing technology in a
different way.

For partners, it’s a 600,000-player opportunity, which is the number of midmarket companies IBM says comprise the landscape.

“The majority of our midmarket business is going through partners today,” Abrams said.

As part of its midmarket and Smarter Planet initiative, IBM has
upped its investments in partner enablement and demand generation and
marketing activities. Most notably, however, the company has made it
easier for partners to engage with IBM around these types of solutions,
he added.

“Partners no longer have to order hardware and software from
separate places at IBM, so it’s just easier to do business with us,” he