IBM and Intuit Help Small and Medium Businesses Work Smarter
IBM today announced a first time agreement with Intuit aimed at simplifying the technology and business requirements of small and medium businesses. As part of the news, IBM will deliver an automated appliance together with Intuit's accounting software, with no manuals required.
The agreement combines IBM's Smart Business solution -- including hardware, software and technical support -- with Intuit's QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions financial management software in a pre-integrated, automated appliance that can be up and running in four easy steps. Available starting at less than $8,000, it includes all of the fundamental capabilities needed to run a small or medium business including email, calendaring, security and finances.
Clients will no longer require manuals or CDs to install and configure their technology and can count on IBM as a single source of technical support. Customers will also have access to remote services such as managed security and hosted data backup and recovery services through IBM's cloud services.
Today also marks the first introduction in the United States of IBM Smart Business, a breakthrough way for businesses to acquire, use and manage technology that is radically simple. In addition to Intuit, 16 other Independent Solution Vendors (ISVs) will be selling 48 business applications to clients across a range of industries including healthcare, telecommunications and manufacturing. IBM Smart Business was first piloted in India late last year and currently has 26 application providers selling their solutions to the healthcare and manufacturing industries.
The news comes at a time when the U.S. Stimulus bill expands deductions for small and medium businesses that are investing in technology, doubling the amount they can write off when purchasing new equipment to improve business operations. Recently, IBM Global Financing announced it would set aside $2 billion to finance high-tech infrastructure efforts under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The IBM Smart Business initiative is part of IBM's ongoing effort to capture share in the small and medium business space. According to IDC, worldwide IT spending by small and medium businesses is expected to reach $674.4 billion in 2013.
The requirements of small and medium businesses are unique. They need to be as sophisticated as enterprise companies, but they are limited by smaller IT staffs and fewer IT integration capabilities. They typically prefer to buy integrated IT solutions from local, specialized business providers. In fact, in challenging times like these, small and medium businesses are even more risk averse than usual and more concerned about assembling potentially incompatible solution components on their own, according to IDC.
The Dream Builder Company, a residential design, build company in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, chose the IBM Smart Business and Intuit QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions appliance because it provided all the fundamental technology required to run a business yet was easy to use and manage. In a matter of hours, the company was up and running with the Smart Business hardware, software and applications -- including QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions and an Asterisk voice-over-IP phone system from Digium.
"We chose the IBM and Intuit appliance because it doesn't take an army of experts to implement, manage or build upon, helping lower the cost of doing business and saving time. In fact, we expect the solution to save us $30,000 a year in operating costs," said Joel McDowell, co-owner of The Dream Builder Company. "We feel incredibly confident knowing that we have an industry-leading accounting solution backed by a single company: IBM."
QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions help clients manage finances, inventory, sales, purchasing and payroll and is the first financial management solution available for IBM Smart Business. When combined with IBM Smart Business, it provides the most affordable, comprehensive business and IT solution for customers. QuickBooks is the number one financial management software brand for mid-sized firms with 20-500 employees, according to AMI Partners. Over 60 thousand businesses have chosen QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions to date.
"Intuit introduced QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions because mid-market companies need a powerful financial management solution that scales with their growth and doesn't require costly purchase, implementation and training investments," said Gary Wiessinger, Director of Product Management, Intuit. "QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions on the IBM Smart Business platform is another great step in delivering the right mix of power and ease mid-market companies need. Working with IBM, we have delivered a turn-key accounting appliance that provides all the functionality clients need, without the IT cost and complexity of competitive solutions."
Small and medium businesses will be able to purchase the new IBM, Intuit appliance exclusively from Value Added Resellers (VARs). Technology In A Box, LLC is a VAR a leading provider of QuickBooks solutions and products with over two thousand customers.
"Our small and medium business clients are desperate for a simple, easy to use solution that will meet their IT requirements. The new IBM, Intuit appliance really is a soup to nuts solution for running their business. Even better, Smart Business is the most affordable platform to run QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions," said Andrew Abrams, executive director and co-founder of Technology In A Box. "The advantage to Technology In A Box is we can help clients migrate from competitive accounting solutions and platforms, providing us a new revenue stream for services and training."
QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions is a featured offering on the Smart Market Web site and available now to run on the Smart Cube. The combined IBM and Intuit appliance is available from select IBM, Intuit Business Partners starting at $7,745. Smart Business includes:
- Smart Market: a Web-enabled, one-stop marketplace clients can use to browse, rate and download applications or collaborate with other clients, industry experts and vendors from around the world.
- Smart Cube: a secure, automated appliance designed to deliver integrated business applications directly to the client. Smart Cubes install and connect users to Smart Market within minutes with no manuals required.
- Smart Desk: a Web-enabled dashboard that clients can use as a single-point-of-contact for Smart Business maintenance, from updating applications automatically or subscribing to remote application services, such as managed security and hosted back up and recovery.