IBMs sales team is smiling brightly today with the announcement that leading toothpaste and soap manufacturer Colgate-Palmolive Co. has chosen the computer maker to supply its future server, storage and PCs needs, a deal insiders say will easily be worth tens of millions of dollars.
While the companies declined to comment on which vendors will be supplanted by the deal, Sun Microsystems Inc. has previously touted Colgate as a buyer of its high-end Solaris servers, while Dell Computer Corp. has heralded Colgate as one of its PC customers.
Ed Toben, Colgates chief information officer in New York, said IBMs extensive product offering and global reach gave it an edge over the competition.
"We have a pretty aggressive rollout of SAP throughout the entire company, and as we grow with that we took a look at which partner we wanted to grow with," he said. "We were impressed with IBMs current product line, services and storage."
Toben said Colgate will rely on IBM to provide a fairly large and steady supply of high-tech hardware.
"Our server and storage requirements are increasing 25 percent a year," he said.
Colgate has already begun phasing in IBMs most powerful Unix servers, the eServer p690, code-named Regatta, and TotalStorage Enterprise Storage systems, code-named Shark, as well as the companys Tivoli systems management software.
Overall, Toben said the companys decision to standardize on IBM products wasnt spurred by problems with Colgates previous vendors.
"It was more the positives of IBM as opposed to the negatives of somebody else," he said. "There are a lot of people doing a lot of interesting work, but when we put the whole package together we felt particularly good about IBM."
Last year, Colgate, which employs 38,500 workers, posted revenue of $9.4 billion on the strength of such popular selling brands as Colgate toothpaste, Palmolive dishwashing soap and Ajax cleanser.