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LAS VEGAS—IBM’s oft-misunderstood on-demand strategy, though still evolving, lies at the heart of the company’s message to customers, partners and suppliers. It was to IBM’s partners that the company’s leader attempted to shed light on the subject here Monday.

IBM Chairman and CEO Sam Palmisano opened the IBM PartnerWorld 2004 conference with an extension of gratitude to the company’s 5,400 business partners in attendance for helping to generate more than $29 billion in revenue last year, about a third of IBM’s overall revenue.

In addition, Palmisano, who laid out IBM’s vision for on-demand computing in October 2002, shed a little more light on the subject for the company’s partners.

IBM’s future growth “is about innovating, it’s about on demand,” he said. “What we mean by on demand is a business model, supporting technology to make that all come together and work, and about giving the customer more flexibility.”

Palmisano said on demand is about end-to-end integration and about horizontally integrating disparate silos of information.

In addition, he said, “we think IBM is better positioned to lead than any other company in this space. We are the No. 1 company in the enterprise. Two-thirds of the money is spent in the enterprise. The enterprise moves faster than other segments, the returns are better, and it requires more innovation.”

So to receive the advantages of IBM’s on-demand vision, “the most important thing is you have to commit,” Palmisano said. “You have to commit to our point of view. You have to commit to our view of open standards.”

Palmisano said the progress he expects to see this year is to take the revenue generated from business partners to well beyond the $29 billion of 2003.

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