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LAS VEGAS—IBM Tuesday will announce a new approach to seeking business partners in select industries.

At the IBM PartnerWorld conference here, Buell Duncan, IBM’s general manager of independent software vendor and developer relations, told eWEEK that the company will announce Tuesday a new program to target key industries from which the Armonk, N.Y., systems giant will look to pluck new partners.

“We’re going to seek to partner in key industries as opposed to going through the different brand programs [through IBM’s five different brands],” Duncan said.

“We’re going to announce five [industries] on Tuesday, another five over the next quarter and another five by the end of the year,” Duncan said. “So we’ll have 15 key industry segments by the end of the year.”

Meanwhile, Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive of IBM’s Software Group, said, “I hope we finally get to the point where we have too many partners. There are thousands and thousands of companies that we’d like to reach that we don’t reach today.

“In a broad sense we’re trying to attract tens of thousands,” Mills said. “But realistically, we have 1,000, and we will likely add a few hundred more this year, but we will not be able to triple it overnight.”

As opposed to his systems and server counterparts, which garner a larger share of their revenue through partners, “for the software side we’re getting less than 30 percent of revenues from relationships with business partners. In my view that number should be 70 percent,” Mills said.

In contrast, Bill Zeitler, senior vice president and group executive of IBM’s Systems Group, said, “Up to 60 percent of our business comes through business partners.”

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