IBM extends program for SME to include BI

IBM Start Now program extended to include business intelligence solutions for small and medium size business.

As part of its continuing drive to reach small and medium-sized business (SMB) customers, IBM has extended its Start Now program to Business Intelligence solutions.

The new offering, IBM Start Now Business Intelligence Solutions, combines IBM's DB2 Universal Database, IBM hardware (Netfinity, RS/6000 and AS/400), development tools, financing options, and IBM and third-party software.

Start Now solutions are delivered exclusively through IBM's business partner channel and targeted at so-called SMB customers (which IBM defines as companies with fewer than 1,000 employees) looking to enhance their commerce Web sites with business intelligence. This is the third Start Now solution IBM has introduced this year, following those for e-commerce in June and Web self-service in February.

Forest2Markets.com, a timber industry B2B marketplace, went live on Start Now e-commerce in July. Forest2Markets CIO Jim Wood said he plans to add the BI solution as the site evolves.

"We're not ready for BI, but when we're ready, we will implement [Start Now]," said Wood, who added that IBM delivered high-level e-commerce functions to Forest2Markets through Start Now "on time and on budget."

"They allowed us to come to market with solutions that work and deliver benefits to our customer base right away," Wood said. "We can do things in Internet time. Everything worked the first time. You don't usually have that when you're developing solutions on your own."

What BI includes
IBM Start Now BI includes software components needed to build, manage and populate the business intelligence database and transform data into information that can be used by business owners to make better decisions about how to most effectively use their e-commerce sites, whether it be enhancing customer and supplier relationships, improving profitability of products and services, creating new of-ferings, better managing risk or reducing cost, officials said.

Software components in Start Now BI include IBM DB2 Warehouse Manager 7.1 and BrioQuery 6 or BusinessObjects 5 for query.

Base price for Start Now BI is $70,000, based on a Netfinity server implementation. About 250 IBM business partners are participating in North America, some of whom will offer Start Now BI on a hosted model. While System/390 is not included in Start Now, all components are available on that platform as well.

IBM is at www.ibm.com.