IBM Helps Partners Help Themselves

The company announced elements of its channel strategy at PartnerWorld, including a pledge $100 million to promote partner programs.

As it builds channels into small and midsize businesses, IBM is sending the message that partners are crucial to its success—and the company is putting its money where its mouth is.

At its PartnerWorld conference here last week, IBM pledged an additional $100 million to promote its partner programs. IBM officials said they will spend even more money in the coming year to help partners achieve profitability.

That effort will include new initiatives as well as the deployment of 1,000 IBM sales professionals to help partners close deals.

The company last week also pledged to invest $300 million in new services, programs, consulting and education this year alone to help partners increase selling opportunities into the SMB market.

On the services side, IBM introduced Express Managed Services to help implement infrastructure and application management. At the same time, ISVs are now able to sell a preconfigured version of MySAP All-in-One—SAP AGs ERP (enterprise resource planning) suite for SMBs.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read more about IBMs partner strategy for reaching SMBs.

The moves are part of IBMs effort to sell more software and hardware through partner affiliations.

"The way clients buy middleware is when they buy an application," said Marc Lautenbach, general manager of IBMs Global Small and Medium Business unit. "Were not in the applications business."

To help partners better sell to SMBs, IBM last week announced several initiatives, including the Built on IBM Express Portfolio. The program assists ISVs that develop and market IBMs Express Portfolio—some 70 prepackaged offerings geared for SMBs.

As part of the Built on IBM Express program, partners receive development, sales and marketing tools as well as use of IBMs emblem.

Separately, IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., unveiled a program to help ISVs, partners and systems integrators build what it calls a Data Retention Center of Competence. A Data Retention Center will enable partners to map their software to IBMs Risk and Compliance framework and, in turn, act as a proving ground to help customers build systems focused on data retention, officials said.

IBM is working in other ways to help partners. Through its registration process at PartnerWorld, for example, the company is building a database that partners can use to link to other partners.

IBM ups ante for partners

  • $100 million pledged toward marketing partners
  • 1,000 IBM salespeople available to partners
  • Use of IBM branding
  • New Data Retention Center development investments

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