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IBM is expanding the number of low-end volume systems in its Express Portfolio in North America and offering introductory price discounts of up to 10 percent in an effort to woo more SMB customers.

Previously, IBM’s Express Portfolio—aimed at helping channel partners get IBM products to SMBs (small and midsize businesses) quickly and ready to run—included a limited number of configurations for IBM’s one- and two-socket xSeries servers and workstations running on Intel processors, said Stuart McRae, worldwide marketing manager for xSeries.

As of March 8, however, the Armonk, N.Y., company has expanded the program to include all configurations, as well as systems running on Advanced Micro Devices’ Opteron processor, including the two-socket eServer e326 and IntelliStation A Pro workstation.

IBM is working to recruit its partners to the software-as-a-service market. Click here to read more.

In addition, IBM is offering 10 percent discounts through the rest of March on some Express models of the IntelliStation Z Pro workstation and several xSeries and Opteron-based servers, and price cuts on other systems to make them more competitive with systems from rivals Dell and Hewlett-Packard.

Pricing will stay the same on other xSeries servers and the Opteron workstation since they are already competitive with Dell and HP, according to IBM.

“The feedback we’ve gotten was that it was kind of hard to do business with IBM for some of our medium and small business partners,” McRae said. “One of the things we weren’t achieving with Express was giving them all of the products they wanted.”

Read details here about IBM’s BladeCenter Express bundles for SMBs.

Now, by bringing Express options to all of its smaller systems, IBM not only is increasing options for customers but also reducing the complexity of ordering the products, McRae said.

The new offering also makes it easier for business partners to tailor those customer orders and configurations to meet their demands.

Mike Beltrano, product manager for CDW’s server line, said his company has been working with IBM’s Express Portfolio for about three quarters, and the response from the sales force and end customers has been positive. Express Portfolio enables partners to get products to customers in particular configurations quickly, Beltrano said.

“What [IBM] realized was, ‘Let’s just blow this thing up,’” said Beltrano, in Vernon Hills, Ill. “They want people to standardize on this. … It’s an awesome program for us. The fact that they’re growing the rest of the line means we can get [products] out much quicker.”

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