IBM has announced a new partnering arrangement as part of its value-based strategy to bring its channel closer together to target the SME sector.
Big Blue is changing the way its SME partners deal with its i-Series, p-Series and storage products by opening the channel up more to independent software vendors (ISVs).
The scheme will allow ISVs to become certified as Value Net Solution Providers (VNSPs) and buy and resell IBM equipment.
Steve Coppin, director of partners EMEA North region at IBM, said the new scheme would be aimed at encouraging ISVs and resellers to work together. "The VNSPs will be allowed to buy equipment only from existing tier one or two IBM resellers," he said.
Distributors will also have the option of creating a separate business to act as an IBM reseller, although Coppin said he doubted many would do this.
Paddy Lawton, managing director of IBM premiere partner Digital Union, said the scheme should simplify things. "This is like a buddy system. It is something most resellers were already doing, but in a more complicated way. This creates a proper solution, drawing on other firms' experience and skills."
Robin Porter, IBM business manager at reseller Repton, said: "ISVs make a lot of customer decisions in terms of applications. To have stronger links with them will mean we get more support," he said.
IBM has already announced two product schemes to target SMEs, the Industry Solutions Portfolio, covering mostly software, and the Personal Computing Division, moved under the PartnerWorld umbrella.
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