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Manhattan Associates, an Atlanta-based supply chain ISV, has been building on IBM blocks for 15 years, but it is turning to Big Blue now for its sales, marketing, research, logistics and services reach to build a global channel it couldn’t otherwise build on its own.

Manhattan Associates, which announced its global aspirations March 28, isn’t alone, IBM sources said.

Partners now see advantages in partnering with the company beyond technology, and IBM is beginning to market itself more and more to partners and potential partners as a channel enabler, said IBM Software Group’s Mark Hanny, vice president of Alliances and Go-to-Market, and Buell Duncan, vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

“The value proposition isn’t just the technical enablement,” Duncan said. “In the eyes of partners, it’s sales connections and the ability to overcome barriers to entry in new markets.”

Manhattan Associates and IBM have about 1,000 joint customers in North America and Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East, but the real paradigm shift could come from overseas when international developers tap IBM to help it attack the North American market, Hanny and Duncan said.

“ISVs drive billions of dollars of business with IBM and 85 percent of it occurs internationally,” Duncan said. “There are companies in Israel, China [and] Australia building world-class apps that are just beginning to turn on international markets.”

UFIDA, China’s largest software vendor, tapped IBM the same way Manhattan Associates did to take it to market in Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore, and Microsiga, the largest software developer in Brazil, is following the same tracks.

“Many U.S. vendors will tell you it isn’t their U.S. competitors that keep them up at night, it’s the Chinese ISVs,” Hanny said. “For VARs, SIs and the channel, this is good. These companies are building world-class apps and will bring new opportunity to the United States and Western Europe.”