IBM Global Services (IGS) is attempting to woo partners by investing $300m in dedicated mid-market service offerings.
At its PartnerWorld event in Las Vegas last week, the vendor announced it is going through "an extreme makeover", and is courting partners to collaborate with its services arm for the first time.
Jim Corgel, general manager SMB at IGS, told the 5,500 delegates at the event that the firm is driving growth into the mid-market, but needs help.
"Everybody's business model has to change, but no one has to do it alone. We want to partner with you guys on this," he said.
Corgel said the firm is taking a three-pronged approach. First, IGS will have a "partner-led portfolio of services" under the Express brand, including infrastructure and security services. Second, IGS will work with regional system integrators to provide local reach into the mid-market.
And finally it will invest in education and enablement, providing new certifications and country-specific partner portals.
Big Blue also revealed that dedicated professionals from its Business Consulting Services arm will work with partners to help provide in-depth analysis into various market segments.
However, in the past IBM has been accused of "eating partners' lunch" with IGS. Kevin Drew, managing director of VAR Triangle, said he will still "have issues" working with the firm.
"IGS is not channel-centric, and until it is I cannot see things changing. This could work for some isolated business partners, but not for the majority," he said.
Gary Benett, research director at Ovum, said: "No one should underestimate the challenge in the mid-market, but IBM is learning how to attack this market."
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