IBM is increasing support for ISV partners with new programs designed to help its affiliates better attract customers, particularly in the fragmented and hard-to-reach small and midsize business sector.
At the IBM PartnerWorld conference in Las Vegas this week, IBMs Systems and Technology Group, for example, will announce several initiatives designed to help ISVs generate new business and help IBM compete with Microsoft Corp. in the midmarket server area.
Through its eServer iSeries Initiative for Innovation program, the Systems and Technology Group will provide an average of $50,000 in in-kind services to help about 2,500 software partners and developers build on-demand capabilities such as RFID (radio-frequency identification) and Web services.
The initiative also calls for opening the iSeries Developer Roadmap to more partners and tool providers.
A System Seller program will enable ISVs to better reach the small and midsize business community by offering preconfigured storage and server packages. The program should help because despite the SMB (small and midsize business) communitys size, revenue generated from SMB sales is still dwarfed by enterprise deals.
"What System Seller does is, it takes a set of products designed specifically for the midmarketplace that are competitively priced in [specific] configurations," said Denise Buonaiuto, vice president of global business partner sales with the Systems and Technology Group, in Armonk, N.Y. "We built in margins so partners can make [money] when they sell."
IBMs Software Group will also announce several initiatives, including a program designed to help ISVs obtain more business, with intensified input from IBM sales professionals across the companys software, systems and SMB groups.
The goal is to provide demand and lead generation and sales enablement through a number of channels, including an application showcase and direct outreach to regional systems integrator communities.
IBM will assign 1,000 of its own software and industry sales representatives to support the ISV partner community.
In addition, the Software Group will announce support for four new PartnerWorld Industry Network verticals—wholesale distribution, discrete manufacturing, education, and media and entertainment—bringing the total to 13 vertical markets and expanding the network to Asia and Europe.
IBM announced the PartnerWorld Industry Network at PartnerWorld last year. The network, which now includes about 2,500 ISV partners, is expected to grow significantly this year with the additional investment from the company, officials said.
Kevin Jinx, senior vice president of sales and recruiting for Dynax Solutions Inc., an IBM systems integrator, said IBM appears to be making progress with partners.
"This is the execution portion of the strategy," said Jinx in New York. "Last year, that strategy was announced and IBM was starting to align internally toward selling—if youre a partner, thats a good thing. This year, theyre starting to put the action in place."