IBM Unveils One Channel Post Layoff News

**Editor’s Note: Click here for a list of recent channel-program changes you should know.**

By Edward Gately

Embracing the cloud and offering more subscription-based business solutions, rather than hardware or software, are the keys to future success and profitability for IBM’s Business Partners.

To address that need, Big Blue on Tuesday announced numerous initiatives aimed at helping its Business Partners transform to capitalize on new market trends based on cloud, analytics, mobile, social and security. Its newly created One Channel Team combines its hardware and software divisions, and Global Business Partners organization, under one management structure.

The move is designed to make it easier for Business Partners to build skills, drive demand and increase revenue as they transform for growth. IBM has about 150,000 Business Partners globally and added about 10,000 in the past year.

Marc Dupaquier, general manager of IBM Global Business Partners, made the announcement at the 2015 IBM PartnerWorld Leadership Conference in Las Vegas.

“As IBM continues to move to higher-value solutions in strategic markets, we are helping Business Partners solve business challenges for clients by providing them deeper skills, collaborative tools and new growth opportunities,” he said.

The One Channel Team also increases Big Blue’s recruitment of new Business Partners, developers and independent software vendors, delivering products and services aligned with its strategic initiatives.

“The spending is moving from the back office to the front office,” noted Mike Gerentine, VP of Business Partners and Marketing, IBM, in an interview with Channel Partners. “Instead of selling to IT, now it’s line of business owners that are making buying decisions and they own the budget. And they want to buy business solutions … so the way you sell now has to change because you’re selling to a new audience.”

The greater cloud market alone is expected to reach $118 billion this year, “representing a huge opportunity for partners to embrace it,” said Darren Bibby, program vice president of channels and alliances research for IDC. The research firm estimates IBM Business Partners will double their cloud-oriented business in the next two years.

In addition, IBM is rolling out a wide array of program enhancements, educational initiatives and technical resources aimed at helping their partners capitalize on …

… new opportunities and position their companies for the future.

Those enhancements include:

  • Driving business transformation with increased education incentives. For example, IBM’s Business Transformation Initiative is expanding, with more than 300 new workshops aimed at improving Business Partners’ profitability and performance in growth areas, and accelerating their transformation.
  • Delivering marketing and developer tools to help partners drive demand and innovation, such as increasing digital and social campaigns through co-marketing funds to provide Business Partners with Web-based marketing and social media across the range of IBM products and solutions.
  • Broadening partner ecosystems to provide new revenue streams, such as enhancing IBM’s dedicated developer engagement community with dW Answers, where subject-matter experts and external peers provide support, share expertise and build their network.
  • Delivering new incentives to make it easier to grow profitability with IBM, such as increasing compensation for selling IBM Power Systems and IBM Storage, and simplifying certification requirements for selected software-as-a-service offerings.

The channel announcement comes less than two weeks after news broke that IBM would be laying off more than one-quarter of its global workforce. The company downplayed the impact on the channel, saying that it is “committed to supporting both clients and channel partners to ensure our continuing business momentum.”

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