One of IBM?s biggest challenges in its SME channel is marrying its partners together to create what it calls the IBM partner "ecosystem". This is according to Donn Atkins, IBM's general manager for global business partners, who took over from Mike Borman just two months ago.
Atkins, told CRN exclusively last week that he doesn't see a quality-versus-quantity issue in Big Blue's channel. "Whether it's quantity or not, I want quality. Some partners have the ability to pull together a broader portfolio of capabilities.
"A single partner may not have all the capabilities, but by combining their skills with the skills of other partners, they can work together."
This, he said, is where the ecosystem of partners joined together to provide the capabilities comes in. "We have great partners with specialisations in iSeries or pSeries, but they don't always have the entire breadth. We find customers have a need to marry those technologies.
"I'm going to add more focus on identifying and facilitating this kind of matchmaking. The challenge is creating this ecosystem of partner capability that is responsive to the opportunity in a particular part of the world," he said.
Probal Sil, business development manager at Elyzium, said the ecosystem scheme was already working for his firm.
"We have just joined a consortium of VARs called the Portal Partnership, which was facilitated by IBM. It's a bigger pool of resources for us to call upon with a broader skills range. It gives us the ability to sell services to other partners' end-users," he said.
Andy Griffiths, business development manager at VAR Q Associates, said although it was not original, he had found the scheme beneficial.
He added: "The ecosystem should only be applied where it is appropriate. Some customers do not want to talk to lots of partners. It is not appropriate for every sector, every deal and every customer. But where you are truly solution-selling, it helps to work with a number of partners."
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