IBM is scrapping its four partner specialisation brands as part of a plan to consolidate its PartnerWorld programme.
Big Blue's channel used to be divided into four 'tracks' - systems and services, software, personal systems and developers - each of which had its own membership criteria, infrastructure and benefits. Now partners will be categorised only by their status.
Colin Reid, director of channel marketing EMEA, said: "Many of our partners have multiple business models. This makes the whole process simpler for them."
He added that IBM is also assessing its distribution channel, but stressed that distributors will see "no immediate change".
Reid also told CRN that Premier and Advanced level partners will be determined by a points system. "Partners will qualify for points through a combination of revenue, skills and customer satisfaction," he said.
Partners welcomed the changes, but had reservations about the points system.
Probal Sil, business development director at IBM Premier Partner Elyzium, said: "This is something IBM has been talking about for a while. We are looking at how to remain a Premier Partner under the re-qualification process. This will provide a clear differentiation between the different levels of partner."
Shaune Parsons, managing director of Premier Partner Computer World Wales, said: "In the past its PartnerWorld programme was fragmented, but this will make things a lot simpler."
He added that being a Premier Partner has to mean something and achieving the right number of points will ensure that it does.
"However, IBM has to take care not to upset existing partners," he said.
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