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IBM to Partners: 'Let's Drive the Next Wave of Innovation'

Expect more investments and a deeper commitment to partners as IBM's transformation continues.

Lynn Haber

February 12, 2019

5 Min Read
IBM to Partners: 'Let's Drive the Next Wave of Innovation'

(Pictured above: IBM’s John Teltsch on stage at IBM PartnerWorld at Think 2019 in San Francisco, Feb. 11.)

IBM THINK — IBM is digging in its heels with a continued commitment to partners to enrich their experience, simplify benefits and incentives, and improve skills while increasing productivity. That was the message Monday to the more than 8,000 partners attending IBM PartnerWorld at Think 2019, being held this week in San Francisco.

In the morning keynote, John Teltsch, general manager, IBM Partner Ecosystem, talked about new initiatives and investments to help partners bolster their skills and seize new opportunities.


IBM’s John Teltsch

“Reflecting on 2018, you joined us on a journey to return to growth, to take share and transform together. Your candid feedback helped us understand what your needs are and what you require from us,” he said. “In our unrelenting desire to improve, we’re focused on ensuring stability in your sales motions and reducing the friction that your teams experience — this way we can deliver the next wave of change and innovation our clients demand and come to expect.”

With that, Teltsch said that IBM’s 2019 priorities will remain consistent in improving the partner experience, making it easier to engage with the company, and growing the partner business while driving value for clients.

Here’s a closer look at some of what IBM partners will see in 2019:

4 New Engagement Initiatives

  • IBM Business Partner Connect uses a Watson AI-powered engine to help partners tap into IBM’s global ecosystem to collaborate on partner opportunities, develop new business and bring innovative solutions to market. It’s more than a partner-to-partner matching service; although, with the help of Watson, IBM Business Partner Connect helps partners with complementary capabilities find each other, get to market faster and sell together. There’s also ongoing support to help build partner-to-partner relationships, said Jamie Mendez, director, IBM Partner Ecosystem.

  • My PartnerWorld is designed to offer a personalized on-boarding and enablement experience, allowing IBM business partners to manage their PartnerWorld tools and shortcuts in one place, including My Sales Activity (MySA), the PartnerWorld console, co-marketing center and Business Partner Connect platform. Launch is set for Friday, Feb. 15.

  • IBM created new software deal registration, giving business partners priority special-bid pricing. The goal is to reduce conflict between partners and improve financial outcomes.

  • IBM Power Systems, IBM LinuxOne and Z “In It to Win It” incentives are available for business-partner firms and the company is extending the incentive for IBM storage into 2019.

New Investments in Skills and Enablement

  • New business partner sales and technical journeys on the IBM Skills Gateway platform are designed to provide partners with the same learning experience as IBM clients and sellers to develop their IBM portfolio expertise and help them earn IBM credentials.

  • Seismic@IBM levels the playing field for partners and IBM sales teams. IBM is making available sales kits, sales plays, presentations, use cases and other assets from across the IBM portfolio in one place for both partners and IBM sales teams.

  • The company also is expanding its Value Package support bundle to Value Package 2.0, which gives partners the ability to double IBM Cloud credits, sandbox environments, discount vouchers for select education events and additional subscription discounts.

Partners will also see IBM double the number of …

… systems-channel technical sellers supporting them in the field.

New Security and Hybrid Multicloud Offerings

  • The new Managed Services Security Provider (MSSP) program is designed to help partners build a security practice and deliver solutions in either an embedded or reseller model. There’s a new Know Your IBM security sales incentive that provides reloadable IBM Rewards debit cards to partners who sell new security licenses and SaaS.

  • IBM has enabled partners to build IBM Cloud Paks, enterprise-grade container software packages with guidance and step-by-step instructions to build quickly, with open standards that will enable hybrid and multicloud deployments. Built for Kubernetes on the IBM Cloud and IBM Cloud Private, IBM Cloud Paks are designed to accelerate time to production and improve readiness at lower cost than containers alone.

  • There’s a new Cloud Digital Technical Engagement program for self-service access to technical assets focused on product demos and tutorials, particularly around a customer’s journey to cloud and AI. The new Seismic@IBM will link to the Cloud Digital Technical Engagement program.

As the company’s global channel chief since June 2017, Teltsch has been on a steadfast course to drive change in IBM’s channel, one that’s synergistic with IBM’s business transformation. The vendor is focused on target growth areas such as hybrid multicloud, AI, security and analytics. The need for IBM partners to create customer value via IP was also a key focus at today’s conference, as was SaaS.

In his commitment to transform IBM’s channel, Teltsch has turned over 85 percent of his direct reports. He’s not the only driving change at IBM. Dorothy Copeland, vice president, business partners for North America, has been in her job for about 18 months. Her previous job was general manager, global partner ecosystem at AWS, where she worked for more than seven years. Copeland has been busy bringing in new sales heads for vertical markets and geographies. She is also on the Red Hat Synergy team at IBM, which is led by Steve Robinson, general manager.

IBM’s pending acquisition of Red Hat didn’t go unmentioned Tuesday, but since the deal is going through the regulatory process, the company couldn’t get into too many details about a merged organization.

To maintain consistency, IBM and Red Hat intend to continue operating as separate entities for a while. Robinson noted that the Red Hat acquisition is not only a tremendous deal for IBM but also for partners. There are many Red Hat partners who are also IBM partners.

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About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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