IBM has consolidated its channel marketing, certification andds to hand over to the channel. enablement schemes under one umbrella - dubbed PartnerWorld - that will launch in Europe this summer.
In an exclusive interview with PC Dealer, Vincent Zandvliet, European director for business partner marketing and strategy at IBM, revealed why the vendor had integrated more than 50 different channel programmes together into one single scheme.
He said: 'When the market focused on single technologies and selling piece parts, individual business partner programmes were the best and quickest way to get our packages to market. But increasingly, customers are buying systems and our business partner marketing should be aligned with that.'
Zandvliet added: 'Streamlining the programmes will also make it easier for our business partners to work with us.'
When PartnerWorld is introduced in Europe, there will be three levels of accreditation which will apply to all IBM's partners - premier, advanced and member.
IBM officials said marketing support will 'recognise those business partners that invest more in support of IBM's products based on the tiered structure'.
IBM has introduced four criteria to determine how an estimated $1.5 billion worth of channel marketing funds will be divided among 45,000 business partners worldwide.
Three relate to IBM's technologies - PCs and related products; software products from IBM, Lotus, Tivoli and Corepoint Technologies; and servers, networking, storage and point-of-sale products. The fourth will assist developers to create, market and sell application software based on IBM platforms, officials said. Services will be integrated into all of the areas.
Zandvliet claimed IBM consulted extensively with its channel partners about the PartnerWorld initiative. He added that several enhancements to PartnerWorld would be launched later this year, including:
- Transformation of IBM's PartnerInfo site into a Web portal that will automatically direct business partners to the part of the site most relevant to their needs, consolidating nearly 120 existing Web sites into one.
- Enhanced Web access to education, training and other skills development material, including systems roadmaps.
- Integration of IBM, Lotus and Tivoli programmes into one.
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