IBM Ponies Up $1 Billion In Cost Busters Financing For SMBs
September 12, 2011 Timothy Prickett Morgan
With all the talk about jobs, jobs, jobs–and not just the ailing co-founder of Apple–and people not creating enough of them, IBM, with typical enlightened self-interest, is putting up $1 billion in financing for small and medium businesses to modernize their hardware and software and to acquire services.
“We are in no way, shape, or form making political statements here,” explains Ed Abrams, vice president of midmarket business at IBM. “We are just trying to help SMBs grow the way that we know that they can and the global economy needs them to.”
According to Abrams, most of the 29 deals that Big Blue rolled out last week in it Cost Busters financing program are focused around System x X64-based servers, but there are a few, he says, that have Power Systems underlying them. (You can see a full list of the SMB deals with Global Financing here.) The financed offerings are focused on customer relationship management; business analytics; back-end software such as accounting, payroll, financing, and human resources; and cloud computing. Many of the stacks in the Cost Busters deal include Tivoli systems management, WebSphere middleware, and Rational development tools; Cognos business intelligence software is also on some of the bundles. Many of the bundles include IBM’s low-end storage as well as servers. The cloudy offerings include finance bundles for private clouds as well as for capacity on IBM’s SmartCloud public cloud.
These bundles are not discounted off of list price–the financing is the deal–and the bundles are not carved in stone, but rather scratched in pencil. “We don’t hard bundle anything because we know business partners will need to adjust things,” says Abrams.
IBM is committing the $1 billion to financing over the next 18 months, and it is available worldwide to the several hundred thousand SMBs that are already IBM customers as well as anyone else who wants to join them. There’s nothing new about the financing deals. They will look familiar, with zero percent financing for 12 months with no money down for software for those with “best” credit scores; hardware can be had for as little as 3 percent financing with a full payout lease for those with the “best” ratings for a 36-month term. Quarterly payment schedules are also available. The Cost Busters deal is similar to leasing and financing terms that Big Blue has used in the past. (You can see the full list of financing options here.)
Under the terms of the Cost Buster deals, Abrams says that many of the bundled solutions cost as little as $5 per user per month over a 36-month term for 100 users.