IBM's small resellers could jeopardise their relationship with the announced, to fall in line with realignment. vendor if they do not realign their business models as part of the PartnerWorld initiative that IBM announced last week.
The PartnerWorld programme will require each IBM channel partner to be accredited as one of three partner levels: premier, advanced or member (PC Dealer, 26 May).
IBM has also introduced a common relationship agreement for all marketing and enablement programmes for hardware, software, services and financing across all business models. The scheme integrates more than 50 existing channel programmes.
Kevin Bishop, director of business partners for the EMEA region north at IBM, said details of the criteria required to achieve each level of PartnerWorld accreditation would be announced in July. He added business partners would have 12 months to fulfill the criteria.
Kevin Drew, assistant managing director at Hampshire reseller Triangle Group, commended the introduction of PartnerWorld.
'We've actually asked to be requalified because it helps customers recognise what skills partners have,' he said. 'It also forces resellers to work out what their areas of focus are.'
However, Drew admitted: 'Some of IBM's smaller partners might struggle to meet the accreditation guidelines, especially if they are trying to run multi-vendor businesses.'
Bishop conceded that IBM's partners could be forced to realign their businesses under PartnerWorld. 'They may have to make choices about the subset of skills they focus on because IBM is not prepared to give support to partners that don't favour us,' he said.
Bishop denied that PartnerWorld was designed to reduce the size of IBM's channel and claimed all existing partners would have the ability to qualify for one of the levels of accreditation.
Meanwhile, IBM has announced a range of hardware and software bundles, which have been dubbed StarterPacks, which are designed to make it easier and cheaper for small businesses set up e-commerce operations.
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