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While most of the management marketplace has targeted high-end enterprises seeking scalability and breadth of functionality in the management of critical IT services, smaller and mid-tier businesses until recently have been largely left out. Economics has played a strong factor here, as IT budgets in smaller companies have naturally limited investments in complex platforms that are typically hard to deploy and administer. Moreover, the industry has favored functional complexity over clear-path usability in most cases. The rule in the industry has often been to overdevelop capabilities so that in many if not most enterprise deployments, only about 20% of potential functionality is actively in play. When these design points are applied to mid-tier and smaller businesses, the end result is usually failure - often failure to get past even the initial stages of deployment.
But new Web-centric technologies, a rising level of process awareness across IT, and a new focus in vendor innovation towards more holistic, service-centric approaches to management and automation - are beginning to transform this bleak picture into a sunnier landscape. This progress is all the more needed, as smaller businesses compete with larger businesses across extended global markets, supply chains, and partnerships in which requirements for IT service performance have become ever more critical and unforgiving.
Nonetheless, virtually all of the product innovation to date has come from small companies seeking niche markets rather than larger brand names in the IT management industry. So it is a significant moment in the industry when IBM steps into the mid-market ring with two richly functional solutions optimized for the low-end, mid-market buyer. This report will examine the likely impact to customers and to the industry as a whole of IBM's new solutions in context with mid-market requirements and technology trends.
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