IBM Boosts Partner Rewards for Selling Combined Solutions, Targeting Key Technologies and Initiatives

Vendor offers new financial incentives for selling integrated analytics, cloud computing, commerce, social business solutions.

IBM Corp. last week offered new financial incentives to channel partners for selling integrated solutions that combine the vendor’s hardware and software and crafting technologies aimed at specific market areas, moves it believes will augment its initiatives in analytics, cloud computing, commerce and social media.

While the vendor for some time has encouraged channel partners to combine technology with industry expertise by leveraging specializations, certifications and targeted solutions, linkage to the company’s strategic roadmap is seen by IBM officials as tactically important. And, IBM intends to involve distributors as well.

"Commerce, social business, cloud computing and analytics are all multi-billion dollar industries and we want to ensure that our Business Partners have the resources, skills and support they need to succeed in these markets," said Mark Register, IBM vice president, software business partners.

Chief among the financial incentives IBM unwrapped Tuesday at its PartnerWorld Leadership Conference in New Orleans is the Solution Accelerator, a specific inducement for channel partners to sell integrated solutions, officials said.

The Software and Systems portion of the Solutions Accelerator grants channel partners a 5 percent rebate for selling certain hardware and a 15 percent bonus for eligible software if packaged together. Both rebates are incremental to other bonuses the partner may have compiled.

Under what IBM is calling the Business Solutions Reward, channel partners can gain an additional 10 percent rebate for the software component of their solution if aimed at target areas such as analytics, security and compliance and social business.

Partners whose clients finance the solution through IBM’s Global Financing arm will receive a 1 percent kick back in fees, IBM said.

In Q2 2012, distributors are expected to be offered an option to gain authorization as solution builders, a role in which they can earn rewards for assembling eligible server, storage and software into a specific offering.

IBM said that it expects the incentives will encourage distributors and channel partners to work together to uncover and close sales opportunities.

"These new incentives are designed to help our Business Partners grow their businesses and continue to work with us to deliver simplified approaches to the complex challenges our clients are facing," Register said.

Rewards to drive strategic initiatives.

IBM long has trumpeted its umbrella Smarter Planet initiative but recently has increased the frequency of promotions for its allied Smarter Cities, Smarter Commerce and Social Business programs. The vendor pointed to International Data Corp.’s (IDC) figures that peg the market opportunity for helping cities to address issues such as planning, safety, energy and water, health and environmental compliance at $32 billion last year, growing to some $57 billion by 2014.

Accordingly, the company said it will reward channel partners for software-as-a-service (SaaS) referrals for IBM’s Intelligent Operations Center Cloud offering, which monitors and manages city services. Partners can gain 15 percent of the annual contract value of the services.

In addition, channel partners belonging to IBM’s Software Value Plus Program (SVP) are eligible for 12-month zero percent interest through the vendor’s Global Financing unit.

The vendor also alluded to, but did not provide any details, of additional incentives for SVP channel members toting the Capability and Industry Authorization, related to on premise use of the Intelligent Operations Center.

Similar offerings are available for IBM’s Smarter Commerce and Social Business initiatives, the former which it estimates as a $20 billion opportunity for software alone, and the later pegged by Forrester Research Inc. to grow to a $6.4 billion market by 2016.

IBM said it will include channel partners in SaaS solutions for Smarter Commerce sales and compensate them with 15 percent of the annual contract value. Officials said that the goal of the incentive program is to encourage cloud service solution providers to include SaaS capabilities for Smarter Commerce into their solutions.

The vendor also said it will provide a 28 percent rebate to channel partners selling SaaS offerings to small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) when they sell IBM SmartCloud for Social Business.

IBM said that the Solution Accelerator incentive and Social Business incentives are available now but the Smarter Commerce and Smarter Cities incentives will not be available until Q2 2012.

TAGS: cloud computing,IBM,social media,analytics,channel partners,smarter planet,PartnerWorld,incentives

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