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January 9, 2024
IBM is rolling out a new services track to better support partners delivering services around its technology.
IBM Ecosystem general manager Kate Woolley said consultancies, advisory firms, systems integrators and MSPs are a vital part of the IBM ecosystem. She points out that every $1 of hybrid cloud platform revenue can generate $6-$8 in services revenue.
“We believe the service partners have such an influence in terms of the way in which they drive the adoption of IBM’s portfolio and the way in which we can add value to our collective clients. We want to make sure that we are providing the benefits and the support that our service partners need and want,” she said.
The new services track will offer deeper collaboration with IBM to support partners at a market level and assist in generating end-client demand. IBM will also provide more resources to co-create service offerings.
Importantly, IBM is pushing for closer alignment between its own sellers and service partners, including shared KPIs. And there will be new specialized course offerings and badges created for service partners to deepen their technical skills and help differentiate their expertise to the market.
IBM's Kate Woolley
“We now have a unique way in which we can engage with service partners and how we can measure and provide these benefits. Service success, co-creation aligned KPIs, investing in our service partners — that’s going to be the biggest difference that our that our service partners are going to see,” said Woolley. “This is about meeting our clients where they are ... It provides another avenue to meet the client demand for accelerating AI and hybrid cloud adoption and technology.”
IBM launched its Partner Plus program one year ago, with a focus on expanding its ecosystem.
“The introduction of Partner Plus is about making our partners an extension of IBM,” said Woolley. “That’s why we’ve put skilling at the heart of it, and that’s why we’re putting investment behind that — so that our partners can operate as a true extension of IBM.”
Woolley said since its launch, “thousands” of new partners have signed up to Partner Plus. There have also been 130,000 enrolments in one or more badges.
“We [are] hearing feedback from our partners that they’re seeing IBM walk the talk in terms of the investment behind the ecosystem,” said Woolley.
There was much talk about vendors switching to a ‘partner-first’ model in 2023. IBM was one vendor that said it wanted to double partner-generated revenues to 80% in the coming years.
Woolley said IBM would continue to pursue a partner-first model in 2024.
“IBM is partner-first outside of a few hundred accounts,” she said. “We are partner-first … in terms of how we do new business with these enterprises. That will absolutely continue as we think about where … we want to invest in our in our partners, and we’re continuing to shift more resources into those partner-facing roles.”
The exec added that it was important that IBM’s product organization was channel friendly alongside its sales organization.
“Every time we are thinking about our product development, we’re making sure that the products are ready for our partners," she said. "As we think about training and enablement, as we think about trials and demos, pricing and packaging, what those point products and solutions are, are they ready for partners? Do they make sense for partners? We are continuing to make sure that our product portfolio is partner first as well.”
Contributing Editor, Channel Futures
Christine Horton writes about all kinds of technology from a business perspective. Specializing in the IT sales channel, she is a former editor and now regular contributor to leading channel and business publications. She has a particular focus on EMEA for Channel Futures.
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