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IBM PartnerWorld 2011: Eight Trends Worth Watching

The VAR Guy is in Orlando, Fla., for the second time in two weeks.

The VAR Guy

February 15, 2011

3 Min Read
IBM PartnerWorld 2011: Eight Trends Worth Watching

IBM Global Channel Chief Rich Hume

The VAR Guy is in Orlando, Fla., for the second time in two weeks. Our resident blogger’s latest destination: IBM PartnerWorld Leadership Conference 2011, where IBM Global Channel Chief Rich Hume (pictured) hopes to rally channel partners on a range efforts — everything from business analytics to cloud computing… and perhaps even managed services. Here are eight trends The VAR Guy expects to track.

8. Business Analytics: It’s safe to expect IBM CEO Sam Palmisano to promote business analytics as part of IBM’s Smarter Planet vision. Mike Rhodin, senior VP, IBM Software Solutions Group, will be sure to stir the business analytics discussion, too. But The VAR Guy wonders: What percentage of IBM’s 120,000 business partners will profit from business analytics?

7. Software Shifts: Steve Mills, senior VP and group executive for software and systems, is on hand to offer his updates. The VAR Guy has interviewed Mills several times since the 1990s — discussing everything from Windows NT software stacks to DB2, Websphere, Lotus and Cognos. How does Mills differentiate IBM’s current software stack vs. Oracle-Sun? The VAR Guy will be sure to ask.

6. The Lotus Factor: Traditional wisdom says the SaaS email war will come down to Microsoft Exchange Online vs. Google — even as potential disrupters like Open-Xchange and VMware’s Zimbra try to muscle in on the market. So, where does IBM-Lotus fit in this conversation? Hmmm… There doesn’t seem to be much Lotus-centric content on the agenda, perhaps because IBM Lotusphere 2011 was only a few weeks ago. Still, The VAR Guy will be exploring Lotus channel partner  trends.

5. Mass Mobile: Sure, IBM sold its PC business to Lenovo several years ago. But as tablets and smart phones proliferate, does Big Blue plan to get into the mobile game? If so, where might partners fit into the conversation?

4. Opening Wider to Open Source?: IBM bet $1 billion on Linux back in 2001. Since that time, IBM has actively contributed to a range of open source projects. And Big Blue continues to work closely with Linux proponents like Canonical, Novell and Red Hat. Intriguing. But does IBM see an opportunity to more aggressively promote open source CRM, ERP and the like? Hmmm… Could be a stretch but The VAR Guy will be asking around.

3. Virtual Success?: VMware claims to control 85 percent of the virtualization market. Citrix, Microsoft Hyper-V, Parallels and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) all claim to be coming on strong. But where does IBM fit in the virualization discussion, especially since many folks think virtualization gives customers and partners a stepping stone to the cloud?

2. Managed Services: During a recent Avnet Technology Solutions partner summit, IBM was quietly studying the managed services market. Apparently, Big Blue plans to work more closely with MSPs in the mid-market. How so? Perhaps The VAR Guy will find some answers here.

1. The Cloud: Sure, it’s everywhere? But how much cloud infrastructure will IBM build and deploy on its own? And how often will IBM defer to VARs and MSPs working in the cloud. The VAR Guy hopes to gather answers from Rich Hume, general manager, Global Business Partners and Midmarket, IBM. (Translation: Hume is IBM’s channel chief.)

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