IBM/Informatica BI Bundle is Big IIDEA

Pre-packaged hardware, software, and services bundle is designed for the small- to mid-sized enterprise market.

Last week, IBM Corp. and Informatica Corp. announced a pre-packaged hardware, software, and services bundle—the Informatica and IBM Dashboard Engine Appliance (IIDEA)—designed for small- and mid-sized enterprise (SME) customers.

The goal, says Karen Steele, vice-president of corporate marketing with Informatica, is to provide an out-of-the-box, rapid-deployment platform that can support business financials, compliance, and risk-management reporting initiatives for SME environments. IBM and Informatica have tapped the services of one of Big Blue’s biggest value-added resellers (VAR), Avnet Partner Solutions, to help sell the offering.

Lesley Young, senior vice-president of medium and small enterprise business at Informatica, believes that the SME market is primed for an all-in-one offering like IIDEA. “We did some research on opportunities for Informatica to extend the distribution model into specific segments, and one that came up as a potentially high-growth segment was the mid-sized enterprise,” she confirms.

Enter IIDEA, a bundle comprising Informatica’s PowerCenter 7.1 data integration and PowerAnalyzer 4.1 dashboarding tools with IBM's DB2 Warehouse Edition, WebSphere Application Server, and xSeries Intel-based servers. “It’s built on an IBM xSeries server, a two- or four-CPU server, and includes Red Hat Linux,” says Young, who notes that IIDEA also features data mining and analytic components courtesy of IBM’s DB2 Intelligent Miner and DB2 Cube Views technologies.

The asking price: $200,000—including hardware, software, and services.

At this price, officials argue, a bundled solution such as IIDEA could appeal to SME customers, which—as Informatica defines the term—typically post $500 million or less in annual revenues. “They need to be able to consolidate data related to the financial specifics of customers. They have the need to integrate data so that these companies could build better business processes or could extend marketing programs,” says Steele.

Officials acknowledge, however, that the large enterprise is—by a considerable margin—Informatica’s bread-and-butter market segment. Right now, for example, the company only has a presence in about 200 SME accounts—compared with about 2,000 total customers. Nevertheless, she argues, a number of factors could cause the BI needs of SME customers to explode.

“The companies that are in this space are transitioning from a start-up model and [need] the same kind of information-rich environments for continuing to manage customers, continuing their growth, and they have the same kind of compliance requirements that large companies have,” Steele says.

Thanks to the involvement of Avnet, Informatica gets to enlist the services of one of IBM’s most prominent VARs: Big Blue received more than $20 billion in SME revenue last year, and Avnet was responsible for about $1 billion of that total. Steele allows that Avnet might help give Informatica traction in existing IBM accounts. To that end, Big Blue and Informatica announced IIDEA at an IBM VAR conference last week.

“The purpose of our being there was to promote this three-way branded bundle, and obviously we’re doing recruitment [of VARs],” says Young. “We’re embarking on a ten-city road show with IBM and Avnet not just to recruit new customers, but [to] bring existing customers into the fold.”

IBM and Informatica will host boot camps designed to help VARs get up to speed on the nuts and bolts of the new offering, and the two partners have also made available an IIDEA Solutions Enablement Kit to help resellers and customers build company financial, compliance and risk management reports.

IIDEA will be distributed through Avnet. In addition, IBM Business Partners that qualify for Big Blue’s Value Advantage Plus program will be eligible to resell the offering.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.