Feeds

HP, IBM - Stuck in the 'midrange' with you

Whatever that means

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Midrange? Medium? Mid-market?

A lot of this talk will sound familiar to IBM midrange shops, of course. IBM's Shearer, without knowing it, echoes a lot of the sentiments expressed by his rival over at HP. "Everybody defines mid-market differently," explains Shearer, and ironically, we can't even agree on a single word - midrange, medium, mid-market - but we still all know what we mean. "The news now is that the mid-market is the place where revolutionary new business designs are coming into play, not just the latest processor technology."

This is why IBM has merged its various server units and put together a single entity called Business Systems to peddle various IT products to the SMB space. IBM wants to get away from talking about feeds and speeds and talk about supporting business objectives and then pitching technologies based on where customers are at now and where they want to go in the future.

Like HP, IBM says that roughly speaking the SMB space is customers with 1,000 or fewer employees, but adds some qualifiers. SMB shops expect the same IT capabilities and have the same kind of business processes as larger enterprises, but they do not have deep IT skills, they have limited funding for tech support, and they cannot afford to integrate technologies themselves.

"One of the things that we learned in talking to customers is that small and medium businesses do not think of themselves as such," Shearer says. "That's why we chose the Business Systems name, because these companies just think of themselves as businesses."

The common touch

But midrange shops in particular have some common attributes.

First, according to Shearer, is that they are decidedly different, which means the company owners and the employees have made a conscious choice to work for a small or medium business; they are often family owned businesses, and if they are not, they act like families just the same. Often times, the people who own and work at the company are the company brand, and they behave as such. They are independent, and they are just as inclined to act from their instincts as they are from deep analysis.

They have a growth attitude, and they want to invest in growth; they are looking at scale and efficiency to get there. There is an interesting subset of the midrange that Shearer calls the establishment, by which he means the midrange companies that have "made it," that have found their niche and that have built the systems to support it, but who are still looking to innovate and to recapture some of their entrepreneurial past to grow. "Obviously, the IT solutions that we offer have to reflect this, which is why we have changed our sales and marketing approach to market-driven from product centric."

Like IBM did 20 years ago with the AS/400, Big Blue is looking to raise the bar on integration and ease of use for companies in the SMB space with a project it calls the Blue Business Platform. The products will pilot in the fourth quarter, including Power Systems running the i platform as well as Linux on X64 processors. The systems will come with Web 2.0-style applications and support, and will have hooks and a common framework so application software vendors can provide a consistent way to support code. Blue Business embodies a kind of hybrid computing model that mixes local and remote processing and control.

"I believe that this hybrid computing model will find its way into all markets," says Shearer. "But it will start in the midrange and then go north into enterprises and also south into small businesses. I think we will be able to achieve a level of simplicity that is orders of magnitude better than what we see out there today." ®

Copyright © 1996-2008 Guild Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
Silicon Valley jolted by magnitude 6.1 quake – its biggest in 25 years
Did the earth move for you at VMworld – oh, OK. It just did. A lot
VMware's high-wire balancing act: EVO might drag us ALL down
Get it right, EMC, or there'll be STORAGE CIVIL WAR. Mark my words
Forrester says it's time to give up on physical storage arrays
The physical/virtual storage tipping point may just have arrived
VMware vaporises vCHS hybrid cloud service
AnD yEt mOre cRazy cAps to dEal wIth
Better be Nimble, tech giants, or mutant upstarts will make off with your sales
Usual suspects struggling to create competing products
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.