IBM Tweaks Partner Program for the Cognitive Era

IBM announced a redesigned partner program to help drive strategic transformation for IBM business partners in the big data, cloud, and cognitive era.

IBM tweaks partner program

ORLANDO, Fla.—At the PartnerWorld Leadership Conference here, IBM today debuted a newly redesigned IBM PartnerWorld program and digital experience that expands on its commitment to help IBM business partners deliver higher value to businesses and organizations in the cloud and cognitive era.

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty was on hand at the event to tell partners firsthand how important the cognitive era is for their businesses.

Rometty said she flew directly to Orlando from a meeting in California with President Obama and heads of state of other countries and arrived at 3:30 a.m. Tuesday morning so she would not miss the opportunity to address IBM's partners.

Rometty told partners that cognitive computing and the "cognitive era," as she put it, will be the most disruptive as well as the most differentiating opportunity for partners. That is why IBM is tweaking its partner program for the cognitive era.

The redesigned IBM PartnerWorld program aims to provide business partners with a roadmap for driving mutual business growth in the cognitive area with education tailored toward cognitive solutions that IBM and business partners can sell. It is also designed to accelerate skills development they need to deliver value to clients. Additionally, it recognizes and rewards business partners with more predictable performance incentives.

As part of the redesign, IBM also is making a significant investment with new business partners, introducing a Skill Pack offering with education, support offerings, as well as a test voucher to aid in accelerating their time to market. Additionally, new competencies will be offered to business partners to support their transition to growth areas with increased opportunities.

"Digital business combined with digital intelligence is fundamentally changing companies, professions and industries," said Marc Dupaquier, general manager of IBM Global Business Partners. "IBM is accelerating our transformation by helping business partners capture emerging business models, build deeper expertise and at the same time, broaden our reach to attract new business partners."

Moreover, the PartnerWorld program now includes refined roadmaps designed to help build deeper expertise, offer guidance for building new capabilities in strategic growth areas, including cloud and cognitive computing, and help to increase revenue opportunities for business partners.

"We're very excited about the changes IBM has made to bring higher value in the cognitive era," Neelan Choksi, president and COO at Tasktop Technologies, an IBM partner, told eWEEK. "The over-arching focus on business value that cross cuts partners and IBM will be huge for IBM’s customers and big for IBM's partner ecosystem. Specifically, for Tasktop, we see some tremendous opportunities feeding IBM's IoT and Bluemix platforms with the end-to-end software and engineering lifecycle tool data that we uniquely have access to. With this evolution of our partnership, IBM IoT will be able to combine the engineering data provided by Tasktop with sensor, operational and device data in order to provide the business with insights and analytics on end-to-end product delivery. The combination will be far more meaningful for customers than either solution would be on its own."

Key components of the program include new competencies that offer a simplified and integrated approach to recognizing and rewarding demonstrated business partner expertise around products, solutions and industries, including strategic growth areas such as cognitive computing, cloud, commerce, Watson, Internet of Things, analytics, mobile, social and security.

In addition, there is a new set of program membership levels that become effective in early 2017 and include Registered, Silver, Gold and Platinum levels. The new Platinum level will recognize and reward business partners for their investment in achieving high levels of competencies and sales success.