IBM Midmarket Leader: Midmarket, Solution Provider Business Evolving

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

Midmarket business is changing to leverage more technology and less headcount, IBM's Midmarket GM told Channel Insider. And IT solution providers must also change from selling technology to helping customers achieve business outcomes.

Recognizing the changes happening within mid-market businesses and looking to help partners make inroads into the lucrative mid-market space, IBM’s new general manager for Midmarket, Andy Monshaw has spent the last nine weeks talking to partners, analysts, clients and others about the challenges out there in the market today.

A couple of the more important themes he found along the way are the following:

  1. Midmarket companies don’t necessarily strictly follow IBM’s traditional definition of businesses under 1,000 employees. That’s because there are some very small firms in terms of headcount that are very successful when it comes to revenues and very reliant on sophisticated technology solutions to help their businesses succeed.
  2. Since the recession, the focus on technology buying has shifted from the technology itself to the business outcomes the client is looking to achieve.

That’s an area where IBM aims to help partners evolve to meet these new challenges, Monshaw told Channel Insider. That’s what was behind IBM’s announcement earlier this year of its business partner channel. Monshaw says IBM has infused this program with go to market funds and is providing a set of offerings around MDF and enablement to help these partners move from traditional resellers to "IBM trusted service representatives that deliver outcomes to the client. They synchronize around Smarter Planet. Midsized companies are the engines of a Smarter Planet."

And those midmarket customers are a sweet spot for the IT channel.

"Increasingly the business partner community is maturing up the value chain," he said. "They are moving from traditional hardware resellers to resellers that integrate and can help with the business issues clients have."  Monshaw places the number of participating partners in its business reseller program at somewhere over 10,000, although he did not have a definitive number.  

"There is a new kind of partner emerging in this cloud computing world which is helping clients understand what subsets of business should be delivered via cloud based vs. on premise," he said. "They have an interesting mix of technology and domain expertise. Some of them host. Most have feet on the street in front of clients who have domain expertise… It’s not just technology delivery and certainly not just pure consulting. "

Monshaw, a 25 year veteran of the technology industry, is responsible for leading IBM's company-wide focus on expanding sales to midsize companies and working with IBM's Business Partner ecosystem. Before he moved into this new role, Monshaw was COO and a board member of  IBM Japan where he was responsible for sales, marketing, communications, finance and operations. Monshaw has held executive positions in IBM’s Global Sales and Distribution, Europe, U.S., and IBM’s Systems and Technology Group.   


Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com