IBM Adds Tools, Functions to PartnerWorld Program, Promises More in 2011

Vendor offers new web-based portfolio modeling and cloud computing adoption tools, upgraded partner locator, new logo. Next year’s plans include significant enhancements to PartnerWorld web site, more specializations.

December 23, 2010

D.H. Kass

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IBM Corp. last week added to its PartnerWorld program a new sales modeling tool and an upgraded channel partner logo, augmenting upgrades it initiated earlier this year and a precursor to larger alterations slated for 2011.

The vendor’s Portfolio Modeling Tool is a business development instrument designed to help channel partners calculate the impact of adding software and services to a potential sale. The tool includes scenarios and outcomes to improve sales growth and profits.

IBM also is offering channel partners a new, customizable logo, or mark, for use on all customer-facing communications collateral. The mark includes emblems for special designations for channel partners to display not only their PartnerWorld level but also specialties, skills and certifications earned. Partners can customize their marks through an on-line tool.

“The theme around the program is focusing on simplification,” said Mike Gerentine, IBM vice president of marketing and communications, global business partners and midmarket.

“We want to continue to make it easier for partners to do business with IBM on all levels--tools, web sites, incentives,” he said. “As a vendor we have to make it easier for our partners to do business with us."

Gerentine said that "simplifying and clarifying our offerings and showing a strong value proposition will bring resellers to us."

Accordingly, IBM has underway a “major initiative” to upgrade certain elements of its PartnerWorld website under the code name Project Leap Frog. Enhancements include an expanded search capability and the ability to personalize content, he said.

“We’re evolving the web site so that partners can get just-in-time, personalized content when they need it,” he said.

Also on IBM’s docket for next year are more specializations to add to its existing System x and Dynamic Infrastructure badges, Gerentine said.

“Clients want channel partners to be deeper skilled with specializations and education,” he said.

Gerentine said that IBM’s Portfolio Modeling Tool is oriented to help partners sell IBM technology.

“It allows the partner to input some key attributes about a sales offer, their average deal size, sales cycle, enablement training costs, and then receive a return-on-investment figure so the partner knows how much more they’ll make by investing in IBM software, services and training,” he said.

On the new IBM Business Partner mark, Gerentine said that the vendor’s intention is to provide a “common look and feel for how we identify Business Partners that communicates and highlights their expertise, specializations and industry focus.”

PartnerWorld additions build on earlier enhancements

Last August, IBM consolidated multiple Business Partner locator tools into one, web-based, worldwide site translated into 20 languages. Gerentine said that since its inception, the Business Partner Locator has landed more than 250,000 hits.

“Business Partners load their information into a contact database and the client or prospect can find partners with the proper skill or focus,” he said.

In November, the vendor followed up by adding a Cloud Adoption Advisor for channel partners to generate a roadmap on how to identify opportunities and implement cloud solutions.

TAGS: IBM,partner,channel,PartnerWorld,business partner

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