The $1 Billion IBM SMB Financing for Cloud and Business Computing

Thursday, September 8, 2011
Posted by Brawlin Melgar

IBM Broadens Efforts to Prepare SMBs for Growth 

Commits $1 Billion In Financing; Launches New Cloud and Business Analytics Offerings

ARMONK, NY, September 8, 2011 -- IBM (NYSE:IBM) today announced that it will commit $1 billion in financing to help credit-qualified small and medium businesses (SMBs) over the next 18 months to take advantage of a new suite of advanced technologies such as analytics and cloud computing. This effort is designed to help SMBs spur innovation and drive economic growth by making credit more easily accessible, with approvals in less than 60 seconds, through IBM Global Financing.

One of the biggest challenges limiting the success of SMBs today is the lack of financing. U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) consistently reports that well over 50 percent of small businesses fail within their first five years due to lack of capital. Since this segment is responsible for nearly 65 percent of global GDP, representing more than 90 percent of all businesses and employing more than 90 percent of the world’s workforce, SMBs play a critical role in a global economic recovery.

In fact, the Obama Administration once again stressed the fact that the road to recovery must be led by small businesses and entrepreneurs, doubling SBA investment funds for rural small businesses over the next 5 years.*

Today's news addresses this urgency for the need of capital by providing the right foundation and resources to support SMBs in this economy. IBM's commitment of $1 billion in financing for SMBs is designed to eliminate many of the cost barriers they face to grow their business. IBM will offer simple, flexible lease and loan packages, some starting at as low as 0 percent for 12 months with no money down,** allowing them to immediately acquire the IBM technology and services they need to begin to transform their businesses, while managing their cash flow more effectively.

This financing will be made available to SMB clients through IBM Business Partners who can benefit from enhanced online financing tools to generate price proposals and get approvals for credit applications for SMB clients in less than 60 seconds, all available by a simple click of the mouse.  

As part of today's announcement, IBM is also launching a comprehensive set of new solutions, which include workload optimized systems combining hardware and software and services offerings focused on technologies, such as cloud, analytics, collaboration and security, specifically designed to address SMBs key needs.  IBM aims to help this segment by making these advanced technologies, once reserved for larger enterprises with large budgets, available to SMBs through IBM Business Partners at an affordable price. These new offerings also introduce technologies from IBM's recent cloud, analytics and security acquisitions such as Cast Iron, BigFix, SPSS, Netezza and Cognos.

Clients can now take advantage of these new technologies with no money down and by simply making monthly or quarterly financing payments. For example, many of the offerings are less than $5 per user per month (over 36 months). In addition, these technologies can now be up and running in a matter of two to three days, saving SMBs up to 50 percent in cost and time.

SMBs to Spend $49 Billion on the Cloud by 2015
According to AMI Partners, SMBs in the United States will spend more than $49 billion on cloud services in 2015, nearly double the size of the market today. The IBM new solutions will help SMBs deploy a cloud platform quickly and helpSMB clients free their employees from worrying about IT and the significant costs associated with it. In a recent IBM Midmarket survey of 650 CIOs, half are looking to invest in cloud over the next five years, a 50 percent increase in demand for cloud since the last CIO study in 2009.  Cloud solutions can also help SMBs automate their IT infrastructure, allowing their staffs to shift more attention to strategic projects focused on growth.  
The new solutions also include analytics for SMBs to tackle "Big Data" challenges to help better extract insight and spot trends to make better business decisions and identify new market opportunities.  These offerings will combine technologies from IBM's recent acquisitions.  In fact, the survey highlighted analytics as the top priority by more than 83 percent of CIOs.

SkyMall Reaching New Heights with Analytics
SkyMall is a retailer that reaches more than 650 million air travelers annually through its in-flight catalog.  The publication is found on 88 percent of domestic air flights, and features high-quality, innovative merchandise from top direct marketers and manufacturers. A high percentage of the company's sales come through making effective online analytics an essential element to continued success.

"Reaching people on the go is core to our business," said SkyMall COO,Jay Scannell. "The opportunity lies behind the ability to tie online buying to offline activity.  This will drive expansion and innovation in the way we conduct commerce and will require the continued investment and advance technologies to keep pace.  As a long-time IBM customer, we have used analytics to make key decisions about our business.  Today's news demonstrates IBM's commitment to support and strengthen SMBs and we are excited to see the advancements this will drive in the retail industry.”

IBM Cloud Helps Russell's Convenience Identify New Markets
Russell's Convenience, with 24 stores in Colorado, Hawaii and California, understood first hand that it needed to operate as one organization to better respond to changing consumer demands.  Today, the retailer is using IBM's collaboration cloud to enable more transparent communications between stores to conduct day-to-day sales, marketing activities and meetings.  The ability to collaborate both internally and externally in a security-rich environment is helping Russell's Convenience become more of a social business by leveraging the skills and knowledge of its entire employee base.  As more and more SMBs, such as Russell's Convenience, turn to cloud-based services, today's news will help many more jump start their businesses to more effectively identify new customers, resulting in more sales of their products and services.

"We are currently at the forefront of an entrepreneurial renaissance that is sweeping the globe at an accelerating rate," said Mike Grandinetti, managing director at Southboro Capital   "Affordable and powerful technology has gone mainstream. It has closed the gap between big corporations and small businesses, enabling entrepreneurs and small to mid-sized businesses to radically change the way that we think about and approach our work. We are seeing innovative SMBs across all industry sectors play an increasingly vital role in our social and economic landscape. As  the playing field has been levelled, companies of all sizes can now effortlessly interact to share information faster, smarter and more effectively than ever before."

In addition to software, services and financing, IBM offers a variety of ways for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses with no-charge access to advanced technologies, leading business and technology experts and training. Through its Global Entrepreneur Program and network of 40 global Innovation Centers, IBM helps businesses solve tough challenges, enter new markets and access the training and support needed to get their products to market faster.

"SMBs are the engines of new ideas for our economy and for economic growth. Curiosity and new thinking are what sets them apart," said Andy Monshaw, general manager of IBM Midmarket Business. "We're coming out of a recession, and a lot of times, it's the small business entrepreneur who leads the way.  Significant efforts need to be made to provide a strong foundation for SMBs to establish their business for growth.  As information has become the new currency, the ability of SMBs to survive in an increasingly competitive and global environment is largely determined by their use of new technologies such as cloud and analytics to quickly access the right information and use it as an competitive advantage."

36-month lease from IBM Global Financing, "best credit" business customer.  Prices are current as of 15 June 2011 and are subject to change without notice; and based on manufacturer's suggested retail price; dealer prices may vary.  IBM Global Financing offerings are provided through IBM Credit LLC in the United States and other IBM subsidiaries and divisions worldwide to qualified commercial and government customers.  Minimum transaction size $5,000, rates are based on credit worthiness customer's credit rating, financing terms, offering and  type, equipment type and options, and may vary by country. Other restrictions may apply. Rates and offerings are subject to change, extension or withdrawal without notice.

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