European Business: What exactly does IBM Global Financing, and IBM France Financement in particular, do for its clients?
Juliette Macret: We support our clients and partners to develop their business through our wide range of financing solutions for IT hardware, software and services. We exist, above all, as a sales support instrument for IBM products. We have all the certifications necessary as a financial services provider, and we meet all the legal requirements. We are part of the IBM Credit Corporation; nevertheless, we work hand in hand with IBM France, and have the same business goals and vision. Our purpose is to increase IBM’s sales through simple financial solutions.
European Business: Why do customers need your products?
Juliette Macret: The technological revolution impacts most companies. Technology cycles are becoming shorter, the systems must be capable of dealing with increasing amounts of data and customers need to implement new business models to avoid disruptions. They may then face significant unplanned investment. To help them fulfil their goals and embrace their new challenges, we offer a diverse range of financial solutions.
European Business: Can you give us some examples of how IBM Global Financing can help.
Juliette Macret: A typical and frequently used business model today is to lease the product rather than buy it. We also offer other customized financial streams to align payment with customer project benefits. Sometimes, hardware and software are integrated into projects where the finished product or project can only be sold later. This interim period has to be covered financially, so we offer a solution in the form of a bridging loan for instance. We also offer used but guaranteed products, in other words, second hand systems. This is closely connected with outsourcing. IBM takes care of the IT departments – hardware, software and services – for many major clients. In this context, products are frequently renewed and the old models are refurbished or remanufactured to original specifications and then sold on. Our buy back offerings may bring additional savings for our customers.
European Business: Why do customers come to IBM France Financement rather than go to their own banks?
Juliette Macret: We are more than just a finance institution, we also understand technology and the opportunities it presents. As a result, we understand our clients’ IT and financial challenges; we speak the same language and understand their needs. We can also accurately assess the risks, anticipate future developments and bring the experience of transformation to the table. Many of our clients are large and medium-sized organizations, with whom we work directly. Our client portfolio also includes business partners, that is, the integrators, wholesalers and value-add retailers, who install and integrate IBM products for their own customers.
European Business: What developments are you seeing and experiencing in respect of technology and digitalization, and how is your company’s role changing?
Juliette Macret: Many companies, and even whole industries, are somewhat overwhelmed by the digitalization process. Our goal is to support digital transformation – the Internet of Things, Cloud solutions, artificial intelligence, and globalization, for example – and enable our clients to make the necessary investments to keep up to date with technology. Today, a large part of our job is to support IT managers, who want to implement new processes and systems, but have to sell the idea internally. CFOs often see investment from a very different perspective, so supporting an IT director, a Chief Digital Officer or line of business executives with a financing concept can help to guarantee the success of his proposal.
European Business: What plans does IBM France Financement have for the future?
Juliette Macret: The technology world is getting faster, and the trend is to pay as a service rather than buy; we will tailor our product portfolio accordingly. We believe our role is to support our clients in technological transformation and digitalization. This process is really still in its infancy, and in the future, the advancement of technological solutions will open many new doors, both for our clients and for IBM France Financement.