IBM will restructure its software channel in Europe at the end of this month, in a bid to grab 55 per cent of the NT middleware market.
On 26 August, IBM will announce the names of its first five European value-added distributors (Vads). The number will be increased to seven by the end of the year.
Tony Occleshaw, communications manager of IBM?s Emea software marketing unit, said the Vads will sell to and support user accounts in Europe. German firm Magrius is already signed up.
?These value-added distributors will not just ship disks and boxes, they will commit large resources to supporting customers,? he said.
The number of partners will be limited, and Occleshaw said he does not expect the figure to get beyond 50. In return, the Vads will be involved in joint initiatives and form closer relationships with IBM. ?We will recognise their commitment and reward them accordingly,? said Occleshaw.
IBM will also announce NT Seminar in a Box, an initiative designed to encourage resellers to sell IBM software for the NT platform.
NT Seminar consists of CDs of slide shows, marketing materials and software products and tools, aimed at helping Vars sell Big Blue?s NT-based software, such as the DB2 for NT database, and products from its two subsidiaries, Lotus and Tivoli.
The company has been aggressively targeting Microsoft resellers for the past nine months and claims to have recruited hundreds in Europe into the IBM NT fold.
Big Blue wants to increase its $800 million of annual sales of NT-based software. ?Growing our software sales on NT is one of [IBM chairman] Lou Gerstner?s top three priorities this year,? said Occleshaw.
The unveiling of the company?s channel restructuring will be one of the first since IBM merged the sales and marketing channels of its network management systems house and its software arm Tivoli into Lotus, creating a single, worldwide channel infrastructure (PC Dealer, 30 July).
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