IBM is targeting a market where the technology giant is considered as a newcomer. A major change in a society that generally deals with the largest corporations and governments around the world, IBM will increase its efforts to sell the so-called cloud computing services to medium-sized companies. The company has lined up partners to resell its services and is helping software companies to adapt their products to the IBM machines.
The decision puts IBM in more direct competition with Amazon and Salesforce. Both have been successful in dealing with SMEs and are expanding their offerings to larger companies.
The software giant hopes that its knowledge of the industry and the wide range of technology will help the company to gain a large share of the market and that a series of more limited size of business may be added to new sizable revenue.
IBM identifies cloud computing as one of the four main areas of revenue growth, along with the emerging markets, software for data analysis and urban technological systems. But the company is lagging behind some of its rivals. According to analysts, Amazon is considered the market leader in the rental of power, while Salesforce is leader of the internet management software and CXM products sold to customers. And both companies have used their expertise to expand into new cloud markets, targeting large customers.
Through various initiatives, IBM wants to support local providers who want to offer their customers solutions on the cloud model. To do so, IBM plans to offer technologies like IBM SmartCloud and Puresystems. Managed service providers can use the IBM SmartCloud public offering to expand its range of services, either as a solution backed by the Company or under its own brand. In addition, IBM will work with new suppliers in the design and development of strategies for the data center, leveraging its years of experience in this area.
The integrated PureSystems helps managed service providers to tune their hardware and software resources for workloads that make heavy use of the information. The company will also offer providers the centers of excellence in Shanghai, Tokyo, Ehningen (Germany) and New York. This will help MSPs to acquire technical and practical experience in application development on the cloud model.
Managed services providers also have access to 40 IBM Innovation Centers as a virtual community that will serve as a forum for sharing ideas, success stories and knowledge of customers’ current challenges.
In addition, IBM will offer a new program to support the marketing and sales of managed service providers. This program provides, among other initiatives, solutions to create a comprehensive marketing plan or training on how to use social media more effectively to drive business.
The technology research firm Gartner estimates that the sale of cloud computing services will reach about $58 billion this year, compared with about 50 billion in 2011.
The cloud computing is a term that describes a range of technologies, including the rental of the computing power of a computer and the provision of software for the online business to help organizations manage their customers. IBM sees an opportunity here, as cloud services for SMEs would grow to $200 billion annually by 2016 (as per recent Gartner report).