IBM Revamps PartnerWorld Portal, Adds Channel-Focused Blog

IBM (NYSE: IBM) is working on a new PartnerWorld Business Partner dashboard that will enable channel partners to view their sales totals, marketing fund claims and earned certifications in one place on the PartnerWorld website. The tool, which will allow partners to drill down and filter details of their IBM relationship, view Business Partner Technical Vitality scores and manage skills certifications, was slated to go live at the end of July but has been delayed until perhaps the end of the year, according to the company.

The Business Partner dashboard is but one of a number of tweaks the vendor is making to ease the path for partners in certification, training, information access and marketing, including social media. IBM also has kicked off a new blog spot, Business Partner Voices, the theme of which is providing channel partners with a shortcut to PartnerWorld news and resources. The initial salvo offers blogs by IBM insiders, including Jamie Mendez, a PartnerWorld director whose posts are intended as a “concierge service designed to make the IBM Business Partner program work for you.”

Other IBM bloggers include Michael Gerentine, IBM Global Business Partners & Midmarket Marketing vice president; Jeffrey Levine, a PartnerWorld program manager; and Jennifer Clemente, a midmarket demands program specialist.

On the certification front, IBM is trying to trim the amount of time partners spend on web-based education, segmenting it into smaller blocks rather than extended periods, according to Levine. With web-based server sales education courses to prepare for sales certifications, the vendor’s goal is “no more than 20 minutes of student time per course,” he said. “Then we organized the courses so that students could pick and choose only the short courses they needed to fill in specific knowledge and certification gaps.”

The time savings for partners, said Levine, is about 10 hours less spent on coursework. In addition, IBM has added a pre-test to help students understand ahead of time what they don’t know, and a new GUI, set to launch in a few weeks, that reads test scores and suggests additional courses to take.

And if that weren't enough, IBM developers and startup companies will have a new point person as Mike Riegel, a 14-year IBM veteran, will be taking on a new role in Mobile Computing and WebSphere. Riegel, current vice president, ISVs, Startups and Academic Programs, has a sparkling background in his IBM tenure, including stints in business continuity, managed services, global services and entrepreneurship programs.

Paul Brunet, Riegel’s successor, will lead IBM’s marketing and business development for ISVs and startups going forward, Riegel said in a blog post. Brunet, who has been with IBM since 2001, has held a variety of SOA, web services and marketing positions. He will be moving into Riegel’s slot from his current role as director of SOA Product Marketing.

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