IBM Pushes Dynamic Infrastructure Certifications to Mid-Market Partners

Big Blue vows ambitious expansion of new channel partner training and education program.

IBM Corp. said that since introducing its Dynamic Infrastructure solutions platform in February it has paid out about $1 million in support funds to 25 newly certified channel partners and aims to deliver badges to another 125 before the year is out.

Bruce Maule, IBM worldwide director of partner programs, said that the certifications underscore the vendor’s strategy to steer its channel partners toward the mid-market toting a raft of integrated, cost-conscious solutions.

"We’re trying to help partners draw the mid-market out further," Maule said. "Our customers have a single-minded concern now on containing and reducing costs. We’re helping our partners build the skills to deliver solutions to the mid-market that saves money for their customers."

Of the 25 recently certified partners, five have attained elite level, garnering each about $100,000 in market development funds from the vendor. Elite status requires partners to employ eight certified individuals, four with sales pins and four holding technical certifications.

The remaining 20 partners have achieved specialty level and been granted $25,000 a piece in support money. The specialty bar requires two sales and two technical individuals to hold certifications.

Among the certified channel partners are MSI Systems Integrators Inc., Key Info Systems, Meridian IT Inc., thinkASG, Sycomp, Levi, Ray & Shoup Inc., Futuregen Co. Ltd., ABF Data Systems and Mainline Information Systems Inc.

Maule said that IBM expects to pay out an additional $6 million this year to help partners defray the cost of education and training to realize the certifications. The vendor figures that by the end of the year it will have certified a total of 40 partners at the elite level and another 110 at the specialty designation.

"We’ve put our investment in partner education around financial issues such as cost containment and reduction," Maule said. "The business development fund is part of a partner’s return-on-investment. Some partners say it’s not enough but in the big picture the move to solution selling is more lucrative once they make it. We purposely didn’t want to make the financial reward for certification too high," he said.

IBM plans to certify as many as 400 of its business partners worldwide under the Dynamic Infrastructure program, Maule said. "We don’t want to set the expectation that every partner should do this because it requires a significant investment," he said. "For partners that don’t have that business model it doesn’t mean we’re not interested in them, it’s that we want to go to the mid-market space with partners who have skills to execute in this environment."

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TAGS: IBM,IT,certification,channel program,midmarket

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