IBM Launches Social Network for Partners
As part of an global channel partner briefing, IBM CEO Sam Palmisano (pictured) and IBM Global Business Partners GM Rich Hume today launched PartnerWorld Communities. The social network is designed to accelerate partner collaboration and channel-driven business deals. Hmmm. Does the channel really need yet another social network community?
Assuming IBM actually drives dialog within and across the social network, it sounds like a promising community — especially for business partners that are really committed to finding and working with peer solutions providers.
But first, a little background. Today’s IBM Webcast delivered some important messages to partners — but it was a one-way communication (a video) from IBM to partners. Too bad. We live in an interactive world. Some question-and-answer time with Hume would have been a welcome addition.
During the webcast, Hume, Palmisano and Fareed Zakaria (editor of NewsWeek International) described how even the largest businesses — such as General Electric — have embraced partner strategies to move into new regional and global markets. The key point: IBM’s business partners need to partner up.
IBM’s Social Network for Partners
According to an IBM press release, the new PartnerWorld Communities network:
enables companies to gain real-time access to IBM subject matter experts to support sales leads and client implementations. Partners can also create personalized profiling tools to develop online communities that make their skills visible to other partners, connect with them on new technology innovations and joint sales leads and develop and deliver new technologies online through interactive forums before test-marketing or taking offerings directly to clients.
IBM says PartnerWorld Communities will allow more than 100,000 partners worldwide to learn more about emerging business opportunities such as analytics, cloud computing, green IT and economic stimulus projects.
Who’s Leading the Dialog?
Still, even The VAR Guy knows that social networks require great content and thought leaders who drive conversation and education.
With those needs in mind, IBM says PartnerWorld Communities will feature more than 60 online classes, webcasts and extensive global in-person events on topics such as building a smarter planet and stimulus opportunities, creating dynamic infrastructures, selling to the midmarket, and selling to the CFO (chief financial officer).
Additional features, according to IBM, include:
- Ability to create an open profile which can include a partner’s technology offerings, expertise, market reach and primary business interests.
- Live chat and telephone assistance for partners ready to deliver a new solution to the market.
- Access to complementary Business Partners to create new solutions and jointly penetrate new markets, and access to IBM subject matter experts to help connect partners with the necessary skills and resources to close deals in the sales pipeline.
The system, IBM says, is built atop Lotus Connections — a collaboration platform.
The VAR Guy will be sure to keep an eye on the social network.