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IBM is shifting its strategy in Australia significantly, in a way that forecasts the future for partners in all markets.

Specifically, IBM is moving away from its previous focus on hardware and its direct sales function, and pushing for a software, cloud, and services-first approach. To help facilitate the shift, it has brought on NEXTGEN Group and Arrow Electronics to act as its distributors in Australia. Meanwhile, Melbourne-based Meier Business Systems will handle the company’s hardware and technology life cycle services.

The big change to the channel blend here is that Ingram Micro will no longer be a distributor for IBM in Australia. Ingram Micro has traditionally been seen as a hardware-focused distributor, while the newer partners are more focused on supporting the channel in the delivery of services and software. This indicates where IBM’s own focus might be moving forward.

“We have been watching IBM transform and modernise their technology and channel model over the past few years, especially under Arvind Krishna,” NEXTGEN Group CEO, John Walters, said in a statement.

“Their more recent technology acquisitions and their channel first strategy fit neatly into NEXTGEN’s GTM and can be enhanced by our channel services model. We recognise that IBM has a unique value proposition and level of market maturity.”

This follows news from earlier in the year that IBM, which had increased revenue from its ecosystem from 15% to 40%, was looking to lift that to 80%, and in doing so, become a channel, software and cloud-dominated vendor.

Part of this drive towards a new, partner-focused approach has been for IBM to redouble efforts in the software space. The company also recently underwent a regional restructuring that saw its Australia and New Zealand operations merge with its business across Southeast Asia and Korea.

For managed service providers, this is a big opportunity to scale the business by partnering with one of the largest and most significant tech companies of all. As IBM intensifies its focus on software and cloud solutions, MSPs can expect enhanced opportunities for collaboration, joint growth, and access to IBM’s unique value proposition, ultimately creating a more conducive environment for MSPs to thrive in an increasingly software-centric technology landscape.