IBM Predicts Smarter' Channel Plays

By Sandy Carter

May 18, 2010

The channel is smarter now than ever before. Global economic challenges have compelled organizations to find new and innovative ways to do more with less, improving efficiencies and cutting costs without sacrificing quality.

Now, as more economic indicators turn positive, IBM’s business partners face an increasingly promising environment in which growth is not only possible but expected across several markets.

For example, great opportunities await business partners in healthcare IT and electronic medical records; in energy with smart grid and green technologies; in adoption of flexible delivery models through cloud computing and SaaS; and, in ways that technology can be best leveraged by businesses through analytics, business automation and continued, improved management processes.

One trend that we can expect to see across many of our partner’s vertical markets is a shift toward niche industries, moving away from servicing geographical markets. We're seeing more partners "diving deep" into specific industries of expertise instead of casting a wide net, greatly increasing the value provided to their customers.

Customers acquiring IT or services are now, more than ever, mindful of budgets, have higher expectations, and a need for perfectly-tailored offerings. Our partners recognize this, and many who are reaping the rewards will continue down this expertise path.

A large number of our partners rely heavily on IBM for market insight and access to resources that help them gain the skills they need in this ever-changing market place. IBM, for one, will continue our investments towards the skills development and overall success of our partners.

The IT channel is headed in the right direction, and channel companies will continue to gain a wealth of insight that will help drive continued success for our clients.

Sandy Carter is the vice president of IBM's Software Group, Business Partners.