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IBM VARs hoping to sell Cognos software following IBM’s acquisition of Cognos may have to think again, as Cognos officials told Channel Insider that the company is going to heavily control the number of new VARs entering its channel program.

Mel Zeledon, vice president of Global Alliances and Channel at Cognos, said despite IBM buying the company, it is not about to open the flood gates and allow all of IBM’s 90,000 business partners access to sell its products.

“Today we have around 3,000 partners in the Cognos channel and we want to preserve our channel going into IBM,” Zeledon said. “So we are going to have a very controlled distribution model in terms of IBM partners selling Cognos.”

Zeledon said with previous acquisitions IBM has opened up the acquired company’s products to its entire channel base, which caused dilution for the VARs selling the products, as a flood of new IBM VARs became their competitors.

“If an IBM VAR wants to sell Cognos [it has] to enroll in our channel program, so we are able to select the right channel partners to work with,” Zeledon added.

Zeledon did admit that Cognos will recruit some partners but declined to discuss numbers; instead he said the company is looking to grow its channel to help it double its revenues to $2 billion by 2010. “This does not mean we want to double the number of partners, but we will be looking at recruiting partners in vertical markets as well as in the midmarket,” he said.

However, it will be the opposite for Cognos’ channel partners; as part of the integration all Cognos VARs will be automatically enrolled in IBM’s PartnerWorld channel program. Cognos VARs will then have access to IBM’s product range, especially Zeledon said, the products that integrate well with Cognos.

When asked if being members of both the Cognos channel program and the IBM channel program could be expensive and time consuming for smaller VARs, Zeledon said: “Cognos partners don’t have to bother much with IBM PartnerWorld if they don’t want to, they don’t need to do much, but we do have some bigger partners that will be keen to get access to IBM’s offering.” He added that smaller VARs can use the IBM branding and marketing muscle to help their business and open up opportunities.