IBM’s channel partners could get a cash injection if they design products and services specifically for the mid-market, as part of Big Blue’s plans to further develop its Express portfolio.
Partners, including ISVs and integrators, will be certified to use the the ‘Built on IBM Express Portfolio’ kitemark on web sites and marketing campaigns as a form of end-user reassurance that their products are specifically designed for businesses with around 500 users.
The vendor first touted the kitemark strategy at its PartnerWorld event in Las Vegas (CRN, 7 March), where it also announced a $300m Global Services investment to help partners target the mid-market.
Mike Bernard, channel marketing manager for northern Europe at IBM, said that the Express portfolio is now the cornerstone of Big Blue’s mid-market strategy.
“To qualify, partners must have reached at least Member level in our PartnerWorld programme and then complete an online form to help demonstrate exactly how their product is suited for the target market,” he explained.
IBM currently has about 50 partners signed up to the scheme globally, as well as a handful of partners in the UK, including ISV Digital Union.
Paddy Lawton, managing director of Digital Union, was positive about the kitemark’s benefits.
“This helps to give us more credibility and helps us to differentiate in the mid-market. We have about six products in the offering currently, such as spend-analysis software, and plan to further extend this,” he said.
Lawton added that to achieve accreditation for Digital Union’s six kitemarked products, including its information sourcing software, Big Blue was keen to first gauge existing SME end-user opinions.
“As well as submitting the required forms, we had to show customer references to help us gain the kitemark,” Lawton said.
IBM bolstered its Express portfolio last month with the announcement of 10 new products ( CRN, 16 May). It now contains about 85 products.
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