IT Certification, Cloud Computing, Social Networking

By Steve Wexler  |  Print this article Print

Big Blue isn't looking for more software partners, but it is looking to provide its 5,000 authorized partners with more tools and resources, including individual advocates, as well as a cloud certification program and new rebates.

IBM also used Impact as the venue for the official rollout of its IT cloud computing certification program. More than 100 partners took part in cloud education sessions at Impact this week.

IBM has also added a social networking component to its PartnerWorld Communities.  Partners will be able to access industry-focused social networking groups online through PartnerWorld Communities.

The IBM Banking Industry Framework is a validation program that gives partners formal and objective criteria to test their solutions. Carter says can mean a streamlined validation program for partners, and faster time to market, reduced risk, and improved ROI for their customers. And the Value Advantage Plus for Government Sales enables authorized partners to earn rebates for value-added sales to governments.  

The other key development is the evolution to an industry, rather than technology or product, focus. IBM has ramped up its focus on industry verticals in large part because that's what customers are demanding, says Carter. In January, IBM announced availability of more than 130 industry training sessions online and in local markets worldwide.

"We’re preparing for that next wave of what we see happening in the market, our customers looking for partners who really understand their business." She says the top two customer priorities are first, finding a partner who understands their business processes, and second, one who can offer different deployment options.

"We call it 'bearhugging' the customer."