IBM PartnerWorld: Cloud Surprises Coming?
The IBM PartnerWorld Leadership Conference kicks into high gear this morning in Orlando, Fla. I’m set to meet multiple mid-market IBM channel leaders. Plus, the Big Blue executive team — including CEO Sam Palmisano and Channel Chief Rich Hume — will take the stage later today.
Cloud computing is certainly a big theme here. And it’s safe to expect IBM to make some cloud channel partner moves later today. But I’ve got to wonder: Exactly where does IBM fit in the cloud computing ecosystem, especially as it relates to channel partners and emerging cloud services providers (CSPs)?
- VMware: Cloud computing dominated last week’s VMWare Partner Exchange, which attracted more than 3,300 channel partners. I can’t remember a single mention of IBM at the VMware conference. Not one. Instead, VMware focused most of its competitive attention on Microsoft, Oracle and Amazon.com.
- And SMB cloud strategies — including a hosted PBX effort — will dominate next week’s Parallels Summit, which is expected to attracted more than 1,000 channel partners, hosting providers and VARs. I don’t expect IBM to have a big presence at the Parallels event, which is one of the larger cloud computing gatherings of the year.
Big Blue Prepares More Moves
Does that mean Big Blue is a non-factor in cloud computing? Certainly not. It’s safe to expect a range of cloud-related channel news from IBM over the next 24 to 48 hours. And during the recent Lotusphere conference — also in Orlando — Big Blue unveiled a range of SaaS initiatives tied to Lotus software. And this week at IBM PartnerWorld, we’ll surely hear about business analytics — especially as it relates to the cloud.
But I still wonder: Of the 2,000 to 3,000 channel partners here (I’ll nail down attendance figures later), how many IBM partners think Big Blue is central and strategic to the cloud computing conversation? I’ll be back with answers later today.