IBM expands zero per cent financing promo to Canada

Mark Andrews - IBM

Mark Andrews, vice president of client financing for North America at IBM.

IBM Global Financing has expanded one of its most powerful financing tools to cover more gear, and at the same time, has introduced the program in Canada.

Since September, partners in the U.S. have had access to tools that can provide 60-second approval for zero per cent financing on deals of up to $500,000 (U.S.) on IBM’s System x servers.

Now, Big Blue is expanding access to include its midrange disk systems, as well as Power Express systems and Power Blade servers, substantially broadening the equipment covered under the program as it rolls it out in Canada.

“It’s exactly what our partners have been asking for – the ability to sell simply and easily to their clients,” said Mark Andrews, vice president of client financing for North America at IBM.

Under the program, partner can get near-instant approval on deals that include the aforementioned equipment (at least 70 per cent of the overall sale) as well as up to 30 per cent of additional software and partner services. IBM Global Financing will offer full-solution financing for deals that exceed those ratios, but only the appropriate portions will be under the 60-second promotional structure.

IBM promotes the tool for its simplicity – essentially partners can apply for the financing promotion and get a very quick answer, and then easily predict the customer’s monthly payment by taking the total deal size and dividing by 36 monthly payments.

“It’s received a lot of interest from partners, but not built a lot of business around it yet,” he said. “We’re a little bit later than we’d like to be with this, but we’re hoping our partners can really move forward towards the close of the fourth quarter.”

Big Blue does plan to offer the financing promotion beyond the end of the current quarter.

Although the promotion is designed for deals of up to $500,000, Andrews said the real sweet spot for the program is in the $25,000-$100,000 deal range. Above that in the $100,000-$300,000 range, special deal pricing becomes a larger factor, and it becomes the predominant way of doing business in the $300,000-$500,000 range above it.

“It is targeted more towards the midmarket space and the smaller general business clients,” he said. “It fits their need for a simple offer than lets partners package smaller deals relatively rapidly. We think it will drive good transaction volume for our partners.”

Andrews described the financing tools as part of a “combined IBM effort” to grow in the midmarket under Andy Monshaw, the new chief for the segment across Big Blue.

“Andy’s been pushing to make more solutions available for financing for midmarket partners worldwide,” he said. “Both storage and Power were interested in getting midmarket solutions incorporated in this program, and it’s coming together to create a strong market segment coverage team. It’s Team IBM making this thing work,” he said.

At the same time, Big Blue has rolled out additions to its Rapid Online Financing (ROF) tool, which hosts the company’s partner financing offerings. Andrews said new offerings under ROF, which has been around for about five years, will allow partners to better and more simply track their sales pipelines and deal opportunities.

“Over time, we’ve tightly connected ROF with some of our internal tools used for the credit checking process and to enable really rapid turnaround in terms of credit approval,” Andrews said. “It lets them get into the tool, build a quote and get an answer in minutes.”

Next steps for ROF include adding more support for custom bid deals, which are currently not handled through the tool.