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All technical courses and training, along with sales content, are now free to registered partners.

Jeffrey Schwartz

October 4, 2022

3 Min Read
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IBM has consolidated its technical training programs, which gives partners the same skilling and enablement offered to the company’s internal salesforce. The overhauled training program, which IBM released on Tuesday, provides more extensive materials covering all product lines and industry specializations.

Under the new program, IBM wants to enable a broader audience within its partner base with more technical proficiency. To do so, IBM decided to unify its training, certification and badging, putting partners on the same page as insiders.

The move addresses a broader focus by IBM on treating its partner ecosystem as an extension of its internal sales organization. For example, IBM invited partners to its quarterly sales kickoff on Tuesday, an approach the company began last quarter. IBM is launching the new training program and catalog at the sales kickoff.

IBM ecosystem general manager Kate Woolley outlined the new program in a blog.

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IBM’s Kate Woolley

“We are taking the next step in our partner journey by announcing a revamped approach to skilling that, for the first time, gives all registered PartnerWorld members access to the same training and enablement as IBM sellers,” she noted.

“Importantly, partners now have access to those resources at the same time as IBM sellers, and at no cost to them. We are also rolling out a one-stop-shop for learning and credentialing,” Woolley added.

Providing the training for free is a significant move, said Anurag Agrawal, founder and chief global analyst at Techaisle.

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Techaisle’s Anurag Agrawal

“The most significant element of the initiative is that the skilling and training will be at no cost to the partners,” Agrawal said.

He added that providing the same training to partners as to company insiders is not common.

Initial Rollout of 60 Courses

According to Woolley, IBM’s new skilling correlates with products that provide hybrid cloud and AI-based solutions. She noted that it addresses offerings in wide demand, including automation, security, sustainability and infrastructure.

Initially, with Tuesday’s release, IBM is offering 60 courses tied to specific technical badges IBM offers, Woolley told Channel Futures.

“We will continue to build that out over the next 30-60 days so that we have a very comprehensive set of skills available,” she explained.

Besides providing technical badges, IBM has created more digital content that Woolley said partners can easily discover, access and use. The additional materials IBM is offering include sales demos and presentation and demonstration scripts. Similarly, it provides seller presentations that include positioning and competitive comparisons. IBM’s new “digital prospecting” tools include materials such as white papers, analyst reports and solution briefs.

Early Partner Feedback

Woolley said her team had worked closely with IBM partners in the development of the program. Among them was Megan Amdahl, senior VP for partner alliances and North America transformation at Insight. Amdahl noted that Insight, a member of IBM’s Partner Advisory Council, has a team of 8,200 client-facing professionals.

Amdahl believes that the new program will let Insight bring more of them into its IBM practice.

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Insight’s Megan Amdahl

“They really see the ability to scale through the partners in a way they couldn’t have done previously,” she said.

She added that clients expect Insight’s people to have deep technical capabilities.

“The sales piece is important, but the technical piece helps us close deals much more quickly,” Amdahl said. “So, we are consistently investing more in our technical capabilities. Our sales teams are important as well. But mostly, our clients say they’d like access to our technical experts. And that’s why Insight is so invested in this.”

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Jeffrey Schwartz or connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

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Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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