The vendor has admitted to its partners that it was not in tune with their needs in 1997, despite the fact the channel was responsible for generating up to 80 per cent of the company's revenue last year.
Speaking at the BPEC'98 business partners conference, Ned Lautenbach, senior vice president of sales and distribution at IBM, stressed that the manufacturer required even more commitment from its distributors and resellers.
IBM also admitted that it had not been a reliable supplier recently, particularly where servers were concerned.
Bob Stephenson, IBM senior vice president and group executive for the server group, said the manufacturer was going to move production of all servers to Rochester, New York in order to speed up the process.
'We will make decisions more quickly, something our partners have been criticising,' he said. He also thanked the channel for its patience, despite the problems. 'Thanks for bearing with us,' he added.
IBM was also accused of being difficult to deal with - an allegation regularly levelled at the vendor.
One UK distributor who was attending the conference said that in his experience, the vendor tended to get distracted.
'IBM doesn't make it easy for itself. It tends to get caught up in things like delays with price protection claims and it balks at returns, which makes it difficult to focus on the basics,' he commented.
He added that at the moment, particularly with regard to PCs, IBM ranked lower than Compaq and Hewlett Packard in terms of how easy it is to conduct business with the vendors.
In the light of IBM's confessions, he did not know if the vendor could change. 'Some vendors are just like that,' he said.
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