IBM wants small to medium-size businesses to know they are invested in providing midmarket companies with cost-effective solutions by offering a growing portfolio of low or no-cost software.
This week at Lotusphere, IBM announced an update of its Lotus Foundations line of small business software, built on IBM's Express Advantage program. The Lotus Foundations hardware and software system helps businesses from five to 500 employees collaborate with tools like email, office applications, file sharing, back up and recovery.
The company also announced the opening of the Lotus Foundations Branch Office. IBM says many large organizations running Lotus Domino, like banks, professional services firms and insurance agencies have significant portions of their businesses in branch offices without on-site IT.
With Lotus Foundations Branch Office, large enterprise Lotus Domino customers will be able to extend existing skills and data to remote offices quickly and efficiently. IBM says it will help large organizations reduce costs and better manage operations by supporting the often complex technology needs of the branch and satellite offices with a fully integrated appliance. The company is touting evaluations of Lotus Foundations' functionality and ease-of-use by Research In Motion (RIM) and ShoreTel, who say they believe it is a good platform to reach the SMB market.
IBM is working with Xerox to align Lotus Foundations and Xerox's multi-function printing devices to empower independent software vendors (ISVs) and value added resellers (VARs) to better support small business customers.
"With Lotus Foundations, IBM has a simple and secure platform that supports document solutions that involve encoded and image information and is ideal to simplify SMB business processes," said Xerox's director for corporate strategy, Tom Durkin. "Combine Foundations and EIP and you will have a complete collaboration infrastructure in which solutions can be prototyped, developed and deployed quickly and easily to the SMB market."
IBM also announced some Web 2.0 developments at the conference. With the tightening economy, Big Blue says businesses are more focused than ever on enhancing customer experience and loyalty. In following, the company announced a new Mashup Accelerator that helps organizations build and deploy applications that address daily business challenges. The Accelerator allows non-technical users to build applications on the fly, which the company says will reduce the development burden on IT and empowers people to pull together the information they need to get their jobs done.
Similarly, IBM says a new Web 2.0 forms solution will help business users of any level streamline work and eliminate the costs and errors associated with paper production, processing and delivery. A new Mobile Accelerator enables businesses to extend their corporate portal services to mobile devices, which can help business save time and money by using the same servers to provide access to information and applications through the company intranet or extranet portal and to employees' or customers' mobile devices.