Eureka is a financing package for IBM users designed to help smooth the path to euro convergence for those SMEs which have to be euro-ready for the full introduction of the currency in January 2002. It will be offered by IBM Global Financing (IBM GF) and requires a minimum loan of £25,000 to be taken out by customers who buy the Eureka package.
This comprises relevant software, hardware and services, and focuses on the eServer, Iseries/400, pSeries, and xSeries platforms.
IBM reckons the deal will appeal to larger SMEs, as very small companies, which need to take euor action, can do so relatively easily, while large companies will have IT departments which can take care of the issue in-house.
According to IBM GF marketing manager Keith Brewer, Eureka customers will have two to five years in which to repay the loan, with first payments deferred until 2002. He refuses to divulge rates of interest but says 'they are pretty competitive'. He says that IBM GF has been calling prospective Eureka clients that are 'showing a lot of interest'.
'Euro-readiness is not the exclusive responsibility of countries within the euro-zone,' comments IBM vice president (small and medium businesses) Andy Williams. 'UK SMEs will need to have euro practices established to be able to carry on with business and trade on an equal footing with companies within the euro-zone.'
IBM reckons that most UK companies have done little on the euro-compliance foot, and claims that only 2 per cent of European small businesses have completed conversion projects.