IBM-Clear Technologies’ Strategic Alliance to Help Mid-Market Companies

White Plains, NY and Dallas, TX, September 26, 2002 — IBM and Clear Technologies today announced a strategic alliance to deliver C2 CRM, a web-based customer loyalty solution that help organizations better support their customers, partners and employees. The IBM/Clear Technologies solutions will target mid-market customers in the wholesale distribution,industrial, and services industries.
Technology analysts predict the U.S. SMB market alone will spend more than $40-billion on CRM software in the next two years. “This strategic alliance between IBM and Clear Technologies demonstrates IBM’s continued efforts of
aggressively pursuing the CRM SMB Marketplace,” said Joe Outlaw, Gartner,Inc. Mid-market CRM Analyst.
Combined IBM and Clear Technologies solutions are designed for rapid implementation and minimal training to accelerate user adoption across an organization. A web-based 30-module CRM solution that is customized to client requirements, Clear Technologies’ C2 currently is used by multiple IBM divisions and a number of prominent mid-sized corporations.
“Partnering to serve the SMB market is an important cornerstone in IBM’s strategy to provide best-of-breed applications for this growing customer set,” said Marc Lautenbach, IBM General Manager for Global Small and Medium Business, IBM Strategic Alliance Director. “Clear is an ideal mid-market CRM partner because their C2 product is specifically designed for the
segment. It’s a comprehensive CRM package for growing mid-market companies that need the functionality of an enterprise-wide system without the high costs of implementation, training and support.”
C2 CRM is designed to help mid-market companies increase organizational efficiency, strengthen customer loyalty, boost sales, improve business processes and increase marketing effectiveness. Accessible to everyone in the organization via the web, C2 offers instant access to critical customer and prospect information to enable users to maximize their opportunities and increase customer satisfaction.
“We based C2’s design on a decade’s worth of direct feedback from small and medium-sized customers,” said Greg Colley, President and CEO of Clear Technologies. “Our longstanding collaboration with IBM has placed Clear and IBM in an exceptional position to increase our share of the SMB market. The combination of IBM’s high quality, dependable hardware and Clear’s
comprehensive, competitive C2 software allows us to establish early leadership in this segment.”
Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies will jointly market C2 running on the IBM eServer iSeries, pSeries and xSeries hardware platforms and related operating systems, storage devices and IBM middleware technologies including Lotus Domino, Lotus Notes, Lotus iNotes, Lotus Domino Designer, Lotus SameTime, Lotus QuickPlace, WebSphere Application
Server, WebSphere MQ, WebSphere Commerce, WebSphere Portal, WebSphere Portlets and DB2 database software. IBM, Clear Technologies and other involved business partners will provide consulting, customization and integration services as needed for each C2 sale.
A history of working together
Clear Technologies has had formal relationships with IBM for more than 10 years. For example, its C2 solution is also offered through IBM’s Start Now Solutions Proven initiative, a program that helps IBM solution provider business partners reach SMB customers and rapidly implement powerful, cost-effective, e-business solutions from leading ISVs. Today’s announcement enhances the key relationship allowing IBM and Clear Technologies the ability to jointly deliver complete solutions, including hardware, software and services to customers.
The Clear Technologies strategic alliance is another example of IBM’s commitment to go-to-market with leading independent software. Under this initiative, IBM is targeting industries such as financial services, legal, healthcare and manufacturing, and solution segments including enterprise resource planning, supply chain management, customer relationship
management and business intelligence. The goal is to provide developers with access to new customers and revenue opportunities through IBM’s marketing, sales, and solutions resources. In return, developers commit to lead with IBM’s middleware, server platforms, and services.
My spin:IBM, a formidable competitor to Microsoft and any one else is not to be left out in the cold in launching CRM initiatives for medium sized businesses. It appears that the larger busineses are just about saturated. Meaning – all the big brands and some not so big ones have pitched them to death. NOW, smaller businesses are being looked at. This growing but hard to penetrate market is what vendors – large and small, from IBM to Front Range (makers of Goldmine) will be looking to for their future CRM revenues.
Of course larger businesses will still be pitched but the sales cycle is different.