The iSeries Blog

Nov 14 2007   2:45PM GMT

The System i Vertical Industry Program (VIP)

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

In January, IBM introduced the System i VIP, a way for users in particular industries — book publishing or sanitation supply, for example — to get hooked on the midrange server platform.

IBM’s goal was to win partners in the program who would then go out and sell IBM hardware and software, along with the partners’ products, to bolster the System i base. With a release last week, IBM is saying the System i VIP program has been successful thus far.

The only problem with that statement is IBM isn’t saying exactly how successful. In the release, it only says the program has “significantly increased the number of new clients choosing the System i business computing platform.” No numbers. No count of how many new System i users IBM and partners have captured.

Mark Dupaquier, the general manager of IBM’s Business Systems unit, said the program’s success is based on understanding that small and medium businesses “identify themselves in the context of their industry and therefore seek industry-specific expertise.” The Business Systems division, you’ll remember, is the byproduct of IBM splitting up System i. Larger boxes are now sold within the company’s Power Systems division, while smaller System i servers are in the newly created Business Systems division.

Needless to say, the absence of concrete numbers has brought out the skeptics. IBM does do a decent job listing some anecdotal successes in the release, and I’m not sure how Big Blue would be able to count exactly how many new System i clients came on board specifically because of VIP. But some numbers would definitely help.

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