IBM has had to rethink its UK distribution strategy following the collapse of talks with Sun partner tplc, and is considering offering a revised reseller contract to four new distributors.
Originally, IBM had hoped it would be able to secure a distributor for its Unix and storage range by the first quarter this year.
But talks with tplc collapsed amid rumours that the distributor's parent, Fujitsu Siemens, was looking to sell the company (CRN, 1 July).
Big Blue has now said it may offer OpenPSL, Ideal Enterprise Solutions (IES), SCH and Metrologie contracts similar to those offered to its large reseller partners.
However, IBM has not ruled out the possibility of appointing a distributor on standard terms.
Ian Simmons, web server sales channel manager at IBM, said the new distribution strategy was part of its Value Net initiative announced last month (CRN, 12 August). "The classic role of the distributor is changing," he said.
Simmons said the four distributors would work closely with IBM's independent software vendors (ISVs) and VARs with their own applications. The distributors will supply hardware to the ISVs to allow them to offer a total solution.
The supply of services, skills and joint marketing to create a 'buddy system' would also be an important part of the new concept, he added.
John Toal, sales and marketing director at OpenPSL, said the firm was still in the early stages of discussions with IBM.
"What IBM is proposing and the new type of channel partner is the right thing to do. It is an exciting new channel concept. However, OpenPSL is still in early talks and nothing has been finalised," he said.
A representative from Metrologie also said the company was in discussions with IBM. "We have talked about its pSeries products but nothing has been finalised," he said.
Tony Craythorne, sales director at IES, said: "IBM and IES have had discussions about various opportunities and both parties will continue to discuss this."
Simmons said: "We hope to have the distributors appointed and the scheme up and running by early next year."
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