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IBM to unveil products for smaller companies

Company set to roll out nearly two dozen new offerings for small and midsize businesses as part of its Express Portfolio lineup.

IBM plans to announce Monday nearly two dozen new offerings for small and midsize businesses as part of its Express Portfolio.

Big Blue will unveil 22 new products and services, marking the single largest rollout in its three-year-old Express Portfolio lineup. For IBM, the small and medium business, or SMB, arena is worth trolling, given its estimated $360 billion market size.

"The SMB market has hundreds of thousands of customers, a high growth rate and special needs," said Elaine Case, director of IBM's small- and midsize-business unit.

IBM's new Express Portfolio offerings will include radio frequency identification, or RFID, managed services for retailers, medical imaging storage for health care companies, and online backup and e-mail recovery.

"RFID managed services has been available for enterprise customers, and now SMB customers will have access. They can covert bar codes to RFID," Case said.

The IBM Express RFID Services package will cost $830 per month under a three-year contract.

Approximately 70 percent of the new product offerings are in the managed-services area because SMB customers often cannot afford to purchase the hardware and software or don't have a desire to operate it, Case noted.

The Express Portfolio now encompasses more than 120 products and services, with the addition of the 22 new offerings.

Case noted that the Express Portfolio was developed with a certain set of criteria that products and services had to meet in order to be included. As a result, a number of IBM's existing offerings that catered to corporate customers did not fit the bill and often could not be retooled to serve the SMB market.

"There was a realization that we, and the industry, were underserving the SMB market," Case said.