IBM Offers Government Stimulus Kit On Credit

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Why wait for government cash for green projects when you get the technology right now and pay later, says IBM

IBM has announced an ambitious plan to take advantage of government stimulus packages in Europe and Asia, by extending a line of credit on its hardware and services to companies and organisations in those countries which it is certain can pay it back.

In a statement that is almost worded to give the impression that IBM is donating the money – rather than offering its infrastructure on credit – the IT giant said that it is making up to £1.9bn available to economic stimulus-related IT projects in Europe and Asia-Pacific.

“There is a great connectivity among nations,” said John Callies, General Manager of IBM Global Financing. “While the various stimulus packages in different countries were designed to keep their own economies on track, it is as joined economies that we can rise from this global downturn together. In this context, IBM Global Financing is extending its stimulus financing program to countries in Europe and Asia-Pacific to help global recovery.”

IBM claims the credit will help organisations develop IT projects without having to wait for the money to come through from government first. “In today’s turbulent economic climate, governments around the world, including many in Europe, are implementing economic stimulus initiatives to provide organisations with crucial funds to enable IT projects in areas vital to economic growth and recovery. However, many of these stimulus funds won’t be disbursed for some time,” the company said in a statement.

Among the technologies that IBM says will be able to take advantage of government stimulus funds – and thus IBM’s financing packages – are so-called smart grids, health IT, and smart transport projects. For example in Denmark, IBM said it is teaming up with power provider DONG Energy on an Intelligent Utility Network, installing remote monitoring and control devices that give the company information about the current state of its grid.

Other projects include working with rail network providers to improve the speed, safety and efficiency of both passenger and freight trains. IBM claims these kind of projects can make the global economy stronger, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce road congestion.

David Mitchell, senior vice president of UK-based IT Research company, Ovum, said that the downturn and climate change were both pushing companies to overhaul IT systems but that some would not be able to react without the necessary funding. “Without access to the correct financing offerings, a significant set of opportunities will be lost and society-wide projects, like SmartGrid, will be substantially delayed,” said Mitchell.

Jean-Marc Annonier, IDC program manager for IT Spending said that many businesses could potentially benefit from government funding but some are still having difficulties obtaining financing in a tight credit market. “This financing offer will be certainly welcomed by organisations willing to modernise their IT infrastructure in order to prepare for the increased activity generated by heavy public investment programs,” he said.