IBM to Sell Cloud Software Directly to Top Executives

International Business Machines Corp., the largest computer-services provider, said it will sell software over the Internet direct to corporate executives, going beyond the traditional model of doing business with chief information officers.

IBM will market more than 100 cloud applications to heads of marketing, supply chain, human resources and others, changing the way it sells software as competition from Silicon Valley startups mounts.

It’s the company’s second big move into cloud delivery this month, following the purchase of SoftLayer Technologies Inc., a cloud-computing storage provider that will help it compete with Amazon.com Inc. Many of IBM’s customers are just starting to become interested in software delivered via the Internet, known as software-as-a-service or SaaS, said Marc Dietz, the director of SmartCloud solutions for IBM.

“We’re serving a growing demand with a new way that we’re going to market,” Dietz said. “It’s really an expansion and a comprehensive cloud strategy for our clients.”

With SaaS, customers buy software as they use it and can access it through the Internet, as opposed to signing multiyear contracts for installation and support.

IBM, based in Armonk, New York, is also adding new software to the portfolio, including a social-media analytics product that will allow businesses to monitor customer sentiment on Facebook and Twitter.

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