LAS VEGAS—With its greater emphasis on cloud and mobile computing, IBM has transformed its channel strategy by announcing One Channel Team, an effort that brings all of Big Blue's channel support under one unit.
Big Blue announced the move at the IBM PartnerWorld Leadership Conference 2015 here. IBM's One Channel Team is designed to bring simplicity to the channel by helping business partners build skills, drive demand and increase growth as they transform for the future. The focus on cloud technologies is particularly key as analysts project that business partners will double their cloud-based efforts over the next two years.
"As IBM continues its move to higher value solutions in strategic markets, we are helping business partners solve business challenges for clients by providing them deeper skills, collaborative tools and new growth opportunities," said Marc Dupaquier, general manager of IBM Global Business Partners, in a statement. "With the One Channel Team, we've built a strong, dynamic partner ecosystem that is designed to make it easier for Business Partners to build more profitable lines of business. Business partners who have already transformed with us are seeing the results."
The One Channel Team aligns channel operations from across the company to provide broader, more competitive partner experience, as current and future IBM business partners capitalize on new market trends based on cloud, analytics, mobile, social and security. The move also increases IBM's focus on recruitment of new Business Partners, developers and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) delivering solutions aligned to IBM strategic initiatives.
"The channel continues to evolve as more partners are focusing on business solutions rather than product transactions, selling to the line of business more often than in the past and developing more of their own intellectual property," said Darren Bibby, program vice president of Channels and Alliances Research at IDC, in a statement. "The greater cloud market alone is expected to reach $118 billion this year, representing a huge opportunity for partners who embrace it. In fact, IDC estimates that Business Partners expect to almost double their cloud-oriented business in the next two years."
Indeed, IBM is accelerating the pace for current and future IBM business partners to transform and capitalize on these new market opportunities based on the IBM Cloud Marketplace, SoftLayer, Bluemix, and the ability to build scalable applications with the Watson Ecosystem and customize solutions with IBM Systems. In addition, the social collaboration solution, IBM Verse, due in March, provides business partners the opportunity for an improved mail and social experience while developing recurring annuity models, and offers valuable services, such as messaging migration and support.
For developers, IBM is increasing digital and social campaigns with co-marketing funds to provide business partners more web-based marketing and social media content across the range of IBM products and solutions, with the enhancement of the IBM Digital Content Marketing platform.
"Large companies tend to develop a reputation for being very hard to work with largely because they have diverse product groups each with their own channel teams which leads to inconsistent practices and poor partner care,” Rob Enderle, founder of the Enderle Group, told week. "For instance a channel partner spread across the firm's products might not be very significant to one or all groups but have enough collective volume to be considered significant to the company and not get the treatment they deserve. By consolidating these efforts IBM can better track and focus on partner needs that span products and eliminate the annoying inconsistencies. Every partner sees an improved relationship and for those that are broad, and should be most important, the improvements can be dramatic."
Big Blue also is increasing technical assets to help business partners and developers build and port customized server and storage solutions with OpenPOWER Developer Tools, maintained by the OpenPOWER Foundation's more than 90 members. These assets, launched today, enable the development of new solutions with IBM's open, licensable and high-performance POWER architecture. In addition, IBM is enhancing its dedicated developer engagement community with IBM developerWorks’ dW Answers, where IBM subject matter experts and external peers provide support, share expertise and build their network. Members can experience new topic and solution-specific Developer Centers—dedicated places for IBM development communities to quickly, directly, and authentically engage.