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Top Gun 51 Profile: Juan Perez, IBM MaaS360, North America Channel Leader

Perez humanizes how IBM works with partners.

Lynn Haber

August 4, 2020

4 Min Read
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Strategic partnerships are nothing new to IBM. Juan C. Perez just understands them in a way that’s novel for the company. He is a grass roots kind of guy who long ago recognized the importance of working locally.

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IBM’s Juan C. Perez

Since June 2018, Perez has been a cloud security MSP business development leader with IBM MaaS360. IBM MaaS360 is an open cloud approach to unified endpoint management. It is powered by artificial intelligence and analytics, and integrates with the customer’s IT infrastructure. Prior to his current role, Perez was IBM MaaS360 digital sales leader for Latin America for more than three years.

It was during his time working in Mexico, Chile and Argentina, that he realized selling direct didn’t make sense. That’s because the relationship with local businesses suffered. Since that time, Perez’s work has focused on developing local relationships with clients. In his current job, Perez helps MSPs and MSSPs succeed. For his unique vision, the industry recognized him as a Top Gun 51 award winner.

We caught up with Perez to learn more about his role at IBM and the company’s channel community.

Channel Futures: You brought a fresh approach to IBM and the partner relationship. Tell us more about working closer to the community.

Juan Perez: While working in Latin America, I realized that a local relationship with business was essential to develop real connections with clients. Also, the need to develop local business was crystal clear. If we help local businesses, we’re going to grow.

IBM’s Juan Perez is part of Channel Partners/Channel Futures’ 2020 Top Gun 51. This program recognizes today’s channel executives who build and execute channel programs that drive partner, customer and supplier success. See the full list.

CF: So this realization about working closer to the community translated into working with the channel?

JP: My approach in Latin America, with the cloud security solutions of IBM, made me think about how we could work with the channel and how the local [partner] businesses could add value to IBM’s solutions. We started to do this, and management saw the results. More local businesses got engaged with the sales processes of IBM.

However, it wasn’t just about selling IBM offerings. It was a different approach. It was about developing the relationship with local partners and helping them understand that they can add value. This has been a differentiator for IBM and the partners.

CF: Was IBM on the radar of these partners before you stepped in? 

JP: I returned to the U.S. to focus on the North American market — the U.S. and Canada. My management team and the partner ecosystem were interested in my approach to business development and partnering.

I started working with local [partner] businesses, attending events and supporting events for MSPs and MSSPs. That’s how my role gained relevance. The success is not because of me; it’s because we are engaging the community of MSPs in small towns in North America, and bringing them into the IBM partner ecosystem.

Usually, when the channel relationship is built based on just pure business sales, profit and results, the community business [with partners] suffers. The channel and managed service provider business is usually family-owned and grows from there.

There are more than 1,000 partners who are experiencing this different type of relationship with IBM, and we’re expanding that to other solutions. Before this program, partners didn’t think that IBM was for them. They thought that IBM was just for large partners.

[There are about 160,000 partners, various size businesses, in the IBM PartnerWorld ecosystem.]

CP: What is the role of the cloud in enabling this growth of MSPs and MSSPs?

JP: The journey to cloud and cloud solutions changed the market. At the same time, cloud solutions changed the relationship with partners of all sizes. Segmentation [of partners] is important to provide the level of access and responsibility, and access to the market today.

CP: What is the future for local MSP partnering?

JP: It’s a work in progress. In the next five years we’ll see huge participation of small partners offering cloud solutions. Cloud solutions are key to developing local economies as well. If local partners jump into the cloud and cloud offerings, they will have a way to overcome this crisis that we’re currently in. But, at the same time, it’s a huge opportunity to reinvent digital providers, cloud providers and cybersecurity providers.

Going forward, for 2020-2025, we’ll see changes in the behavior of the consumer, the partner and the relationship of the partner ecosystem of IBM.

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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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