IBM Launches Cloud Specialty, Midmarket Analytics Software at PartnerWorld

By Jennifer Lawinski  |  Print this article Print

IBM announced the creation of a new partner specialty in cloud computing and new business analytics software for midmarket customers at its PartnerWorld 2011 Conference in Orlando, Fla.

For solution providers looking to tap into the lucrative cloud computing and business analytics technology practices, IBM is offering a helping hand.

The company announced two new programs for solution providers to help them build their businesses in cloud computing and business analytics at its IBM PartnerWorld 2011 conference in Orlando, Fla.

To help partners tap into this emerging market – an IBM developerWorks survey found that 91 percent of IT professionals believe cloud computing will overtake on-premise by 2015 – IBM announced the launch of its IBM Cloud Computing Specialty.

"Seeing as this is such a big opportunity – estimated to grow to just under $150 billion by 2014 --  what we’ve tried to do is identify key business models and key partner models and then structure our program around them," said Dave Mitchell, director, Strategy & Emerging Business, ISV and Developer Relations, at IBM.

The program breaks partners into five types, defined by their cloud business models. Cloud Application Providers deliver business applications through the cloud, like software as a service. Cloud Builders design, build and manage clients’ cloud infrastructure by integrating existing infrastructure with public, private and/or hybrid clouds. Cloud Infrastructure Providers provide public cloud infrastructure to host third party cloud offerings. Cloud Services Solution Providers resell public cloud services bundled with their own services. Cloud Technology Providers provide tools and technologies to help customers manage their cloud deployments more efficiently.

The specialty will help solution providers by providing them a single program that they can go to in order to understand how to work with IBM around the cloud, Mitchell said.

"Our partners say help me understand how best to work with you to win in the market with the clients.

When they get frustrated is when they get multiple answers to the same question about IBM," he said. "This is an opportunity for them to have a single program, they can come take advantage of this program and it will clearly lay out for them what skills they need to develop and what revenue and business models they can build."

Members get sales enablement resources including IBM relationship managers, updates on the company’s cloud strategy and roadmap, business development funds and invitations to IBM business development workshops.

"IBM software is at the core of our cloud-based supply chain collaboration platform for the retail industry," said Chris Clinton, senior vice president, global channel management, TradeCard, said in a statement.  "The value of the IBM Cloud Specialty is immense as we now have assigned IBM support to help us with technical, sales and marketing resources while also getting insider access to IBM's cloud roadmap."

IBM also launched a new business analytics software solution for the midmarket. IBM Cognos Express Planner is designed and priced for midmarket customers to help them with business planning and forecasting.

"Business analytics is another major area of focus for us and an area where we are very reliant on the partner channel to go after the midmarket. Ninety-five percent of our analytics engagements in the midmarket are done through the channel," Mitchell said.

IBM also plans to help partners with client opportunities by offering new training courses focused on business analytics technologies through its IBM Innovation Centers. "We’ll be providing resources and education for partners that have specific opportunities with midmarket clients," Mitchell said. "Really giving our partners hands on support to help them in analytics deals with clients."

Mitchell said IBM sees analytics as a huge opportunity for solution providers.

"The fact that so few companies, particularly midmarket companies, take advantage of analytics today, we think this is an enormous and growing opportunity for us," he said.