Arrow ECS Opens Social Networking Site for IBM Channel Partners

Virtual Bench will help resellers collaborate on sales opportunities and build relationships with other channel partners, distributor says.

February 10, 2011

D.H. Kass

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Distributor Arrow Enterprise Computing Solutions (ECS), a business unit of Arrow Electronics Inc., said that it has crafted a social networking site called Virtual Bench aimed at helping its 13,000 IBM Corp. channel partners in North America to collaborate on sales deals and build relationships.

The site, which was formally unwrapped at IBM Software’s Lotusphere 2011 event last week, will be confined to IBM’s channel partners for now but eventually will be broadened to include resellers from Arrow’s other suppliers, officials said.

Channel partners can access Virtual Bench, which is built on IBM Lotus Connections social community software, from a secure portal at the Arrow ECS web site. NouvEON, a management consulting firm based in Charlotte, NC, helped design and develop the site.

"With Virtual Bench, our resellers can expand their sales opportunities," said Mark Taylor, Arrow ECS vice president, North American IBM group.

"For example, an IBM infrastructure reseller needing a business analytics solution for a customer can connect with an IBM software reseller with Cognos skills and sales authorizations,” he said.

Virtual Bench offers social communities for channel partners to gain insights from other resellers and stay current of new developments in the channel, officials said.

"We are pleased that Arrow ECS will be leveraging IBM Lotus Connections for its newest reseller social networking opportunity," said Sandy Carter, IBM vice president, Social Business and Collaboration Solutions, Sales and Evangelism.

"Lotus Connections is a comprehensive social computing platform that delivers capability through integrated parts like profiles, communities, blogs, Wikis and more," she said.

TAGS: IBM,social networking,channel partner,Arrow ECS,Virtual Bench

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