• December 9, 2002
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

IBM's Door to SMBs

Clear Technologies Inc. and IBM Corp. are vying to make small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) smarter with the release of the C2 CRM suite Web portal. Clear Technologies, recently named as one of IBM's premier partners in the CRM mid-market, is expanding upon its 10-year relationship with Big Blue by delivering on a promise made one month ago to bundle the C2 CRM suite with IBM's hardware, middleware, and database technologies. Similar to familiar announcements by Microsoft, Siebel, SAP, and PeopleSoft, the investment is part of a significant push by IBM to penetrate the SMB CRM market. In late September Elaine Lennox, IBM's director of marketing of global small and medium business, said Big Blue expects to spend $100 million in the next year marketing to the small and medium business segment, which it defines as companies with 100 to 1,000 employees. Some of that investment is going toward the agreement with Clear Technologies. "We set out to build a completely new portal of information that is designed to give mid-market companies access to the information they have been asking for," Greg Colley, president and CEO of Clear Technologies said in a prepared statement. IBM and Clear Technologies' efforts are designed to enable small to medium-size businesses to get desired information on improving productivity and reducing costs. Located at www.cleartechnologies.net or www.c2crm.com, the portal offers products available through Clear's sServer reseller program, such as hardware, software services solutions for IM iSeries, xSeries, and pSeries servers, as well as Clear's SMB software suite C2 CRM. The site also provides links to other information sources for mid-market companies, such as IBM, Gartner Inc, Aberdeen Group Inc., and AMR Research. In addition to the multiple resource links, the site marks the launch of the company's corporate branding and positioning. "At a time when many companies in our space have scaled back aggressive marketing programs, we're expanding ours to meet the needs of the growing mid-market segment," Michael Guillory, vice president of marketing for Clear Technologies said in a statement. "This new Web site is just one component of our increasing efforts to expand our reach to serve more companies who need help growing their business." The companies will go to market with each other's products, targeting the wholesale distribution, industrial, and services verticals.
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