Wheeling and Dealing

'Tis the season for courting small business deals.

Tis the season for courting small business deals. Or, if you are IBM Global Services or EDS, that could be shortened to just "small deals." eWEEK reported on Jan. 23 how EDS is completing a makeover that will enable the IT services provider to accept smaller contracts and not rely on multibillion-dollar deals. Likewise, IGS is ready to make a deal—any deal—writes Executive Editor Stan Gibson.

IGS, which accounted for half of IBMs $91 billion in 2005 sales, has hit a wall. Revenue decreased by 5 percent in the fourth quarter, and Wall Street punished IBM stock last year for less-then-stellar earnings reports primarily due to slowing services growth. CEO Sam Palmisanos solution was to try something many of his customers are already doing when it comes to IT services: diversify.

Rather than confront potential customers with a united, albeit intimidatingly large, front, Palmisano divided IGS into three core competencies: Enterprise Business Services, Integrated Operations and IT Services. The trick with IBMs version of multisourcing, as it is with customers, is trying to find the right mix, and not getting in its own way. As Dave Berry, CIO of cosmetics maker Coty, asked, "How does IBM go to itself and negotiate lower prices?"

Not making such moves is Microsoft, which is gearing up the machine that will distribute Vista through the channel later this year. With the latest preview edition due this week, Microsoft is also expected to release early versions of tools to help enterprise customers deploy the next version of Windows to thousands of desktops. Business Desktop Lifecycle Management for Vista will include tools for SLAs (service-level agreements), mobility synchronization and rights management, reports Microsoft Watch Editor Mary Jo Foley.

Symbol CEO Sal Iannuzzi may have been right when he told eWEEKs Carmen Nobel RFID is not ready for prime time. He must have been referring to the corporate marketplace, however, because Symbol readers are being deployed in the worlds largest RFID network being built by NATO for its military equipment supply chain. In the latest eWEEK Road Map, Senior Writer Renee Boucher Ferguson traces the global project from its origins following the first Gulf War to todays efforts to tie all NATO members in to its RFID backbone.

Send comments to scot_petersen@ziffdavis.com.

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture,...