IBM's Midmarket Channel Push

By Steve Wexler  |  Print this article Print

HP is calling on existing and new partners to go after the 'underserved' $7.5-billion midsize-enterprise market with a new set of offerings. IBM is also retooling its channel capabilities, including a new scoring system to ensure different types of partners are treated equitably.

IBM is also retooling its channel capabilities, including a new scoring system to ensure consistency among partners. Other changes include senior-level IBM relationship services, market intelligence resources, expanded social media and search tools, and a specialty to help partners deliver solutions based on IBM System x technology. It's part of Big Blue's continued investment in partners through skills development, streamlined processes and new opportunities to collaborate, says Rich Hume, general manager, IBM Global Business Partners and Mid-Market in a prepared statement. "We continue to deliver on our promise to simplify the way we do business with our Business Partners and help them improve profitability and accelerate growth."

New skill-building opportunities and benefits include: extended executive relationship coverage to a broader community of Premier and Software Value Plus authorized Business Partners; Lab Advocate program for Software Value Plus authorized Business Partners; market intelligence through a new suite of no-cost Market Insights research reports on PartnerWorld from both IBM and external vendors; the IBM Business Partner Locator, a new tool that helps clients, prospects and partners more easily identify skilled IBM Business Partners in their local market; and expanded PartnerWorld Contact Services for support with marketing, sales support, training, technical support and other areas.

Also new is the  System x Specialty to help partners expand their System x sales, technical and solutions skills through education, testing and learning resources. With the specialty, partners will receive a number of benefits, including enhanced technical support, participation in targeted sales programs, and industry recognition through the System x Specialty mark to be delivered later this year and into 2011.

Perhaps of most significance is the simplified requirements for advancement through the PartnerWorld levels built around four criteria: Skills, Revenue, Customer Satisfaction and References. Scheduled to be deployed in phases beginning in July, the new criteria recognize more ways to advance through the program, have fewer rules and minimum requirements and are designed to provide a clear path to higher PartnerWorld program levels, increased benefits and specialties.

In the new weighted skill system, partners earn points for certification and progressively higher points for deeper skills attainment such as advanced and expert technical certifications. IBM has introduced new revenue-based categories and a special midmarket accelerator to earn additional PartnerWorld points. The company will now award PartnerWorld points for verified client references, and with customer satisfaction still a focus area, this process will remain unchanged.