Palmisano Addresses VARs in Rare Webcast

IBM chief executive Sam Palmisano addressed the company's 100,000 partners in a rare webcast last week. Having cancelled this year's partner summit due to the recession, the webcast provided an opportunity to update partners while communicating IBM's direction.

IBM is also encouraging and facilitating collaboration, evidenced by The PartnerWorld Communities social networking system.  The site will help partners find each other and work business opportunities.   It has a variety of tools including blogs, wikis and other tools to create profiles, share sales leads and exchange expertise.

While Cisco, HP and others are fighting over the datacenter, it’s interesting this IBM webcast was focused elsewhere. There was plenty of emphasis on the β€œSmarter Planet” initiative which  recognizes the proliferation of technology outside the datacenter into appliances, consumer electronics, smart grids and traffic control systems. IBM has already recruited 150 partners for its Dynamic Infrastructure Initiative Specialty program.

 IBM, like HP and Microsoft, wants its partners to provide complete solutions and the IBM global financing guidelines are set up to facilitate that. As John Callies, IBM global financing GM, said, "It's the right thing to do to help our partners provide the value-add on IBM products.”  

In addition, $2 billion in financing is available for projects eligible under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Like Frasier Crane, IBM is listening and is following through.

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