IBM offers SMBs $1 billion in financing for cloud, analytics packages

Hey, small and midsize businesses, IBM has got some cloud computing and analytics packages to sell you, and they're offering financing on terms so easy you'll think Big Blue went crazy!

Well, maybe not as easy (or crazy) as your local car dealership, but the company announced last week it will provide $1 billion in financing to qualified SMBs over the next 18 months to help them buy new IBM technologies such as cloud computing and business analytics tools, "with approvals often in less than 60 seconds."

BACKGROUND: IBM expands finance options for SMBs

The new products, combining hardware, software and services, focus on cloud computing, business analytics, security and collaboration and include technologies from recent Big Blue acquisitions Cast Iron, BigFix, SPSS, Netezza and Cognos.

In making the announcement, IBM cited U.S. Small Business Administration statistics showing that more than 50% of small businesses fail within the first five years because they lack capital. The company said the new financing is intended to eliminate these cost barriers many SMBs must contend with when trying to grow their businesses.

The company said it will offer "simple, flexible lease and loan packages, some starting at as low as 0 percent for 12 months with no money down."

Zero percent? No money down? IBM is insane!

SMBs can go through IBM Business Partners, which will offer online tools for generating pricing proposals. Credit applications can be submitted online.

IBM said it has put together more than 30 different packages for SMBs, combining various elements including business analytics software from SPSS, cloud integration software from Cast Iron, security management software from BigFix and Netezza's data warehouse hardware.

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