Welcome to IBM Smart Business. This is my first shot at blogging around this new initiative and am excited to get feedback and hear your thoughts on this new platform. The first thing I really want to discuss is the notion of "platform". Traditionally a platform is tied to specific hardware (PC, mainframe, Apple as an examples) or maybe even a software platform (Windows, Linux, WebSphere as examples). The new platform that is called Smart Business is targeted at redefining our view of what a platform really is. A platform in our mind should blur the lines of technology between hardware, software, web, and services. The end customer should see on integrated view into solutions as part of the platform. We break the new Smart Business platform down into three distinct entities: Smart Market, Smart Cube and Smart Desk.
I want to discuss in this first blog the Smart Market, the anchor point of the platform. Smart Market is a single place that customers and partners can come and find solutions that are relevant for their business. The "solution" view is key here, it's not about technology, it's about business solutions that can help the end customer solve a business need. The experience on the Smart Market is very much like we are used to as consumers when we learn, shop and buy consumer based products through the web. Customers can search by company size, price, industry, or solution type. An example would be: show me all Payroll applications for company size 50-99 that are priced under $2000. In one spot they can see several solutions that fit their search criteria, they can compare side by side for features and functions, pricing as well as read user ratings and reviews. They can see detailed information on the solutions that interest them the most.
The experience with Smart Market does not end after a customer finds a solution for the first time. All solutions tie back into the market after they are deployed. It's how customers obtain fixes for every part of the solution. It's where they come back to find complimentary applications or other line of business solutions that are needed for their company. The Smart Market also provides valuable information for the end customer from the user community. They can view wiki's and blogs that discuss specific applications, user tips, most commonly run into issues and how they are solved, most importantly we want and expect the end customers to be active in rating, reviewing and commenting on the solutions.
Smart Market has an entry for solution providers as well - where they can fill out listing packages for their solutions to show up in the market. The work required for this is simple, straight forward and very easy to complete. The Smart Market will provide more reach for the solution providers and open up their applications to a whole new customer set they have not been able to reach before. Easy to list, easy to sell and easy to maintain the relationship with the customer are key benefits for our solution providers and partners.
The goal of Smart Market is to redefine how customers learn, shop and buy line of business applications. Radically change how they manage the entire life cycle of the solution and most importantly take the complexity out of IT and focus on running their business, not their IT.
In future blogs I'll dig deeper into the Smart Cube and Smart Desk. Smart Market is the first of many exciting launches around IBM Smart Business that you'll be seeing, hearing and reading about in the upcoming months.
Our approach to Smart Business has always been interactive with our customers, partners and solution providers. Simplicity through integration, ease of use and a satisfying user experience is our design point. I personally want to hear what you like, dislike and your opinions.
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