Big Blue is making some changes to its channel structure as it focuses more heavily on value, but it insists the changes will benefit its partners.
Although it is still too early to drill into the details of the changes taking place, CRN understands the move will give IBM partners more laser-focused account and technical managers to deal with, as the vendor attempts to reduce complexity.
Speaking to CRN, Richard Potts, vice president of business partners and mid-market at IBM, said the vendor will be putting more resource into its partners, but the benefits might take a while to filter through to some of its channel.
“IBM is determined to move to a higher-value space. That does not mean we are going to walk away from our historical server or software business – they will become critical components. We have to get better at joining up our capabilities and assets to deliver high value to clients,” he said. “The shift to new selling models such as cloud and SaaS is accelerating faster than we thought it would. It was quite surprising, particularly in the mid-market, how fast the shift has happened.
“That changes our whole channel approach – selling with providers rather than to them. And that requires a different set of skills. We should be going to our existing channel/new MSPs in the cloud and asking: ‘how can we enhance your value proposition to your clients by using our capability and assets?’"
Potts said IBM’s strength is its breadth of assets and capabilities, but it has lost points with partners on complexity of doing business, so to address that the vendor will be looking to simplify the way it works with partners.
“There will be a significant increase of our single-brand technical and sales specialists dedicated to the channel,” he said. “It means we will have a synergy with our software, systems and technology group (STG) and our services organisation.”
Importantly, Potts stressed IBM is not cutting any channel benefits.
“We are not taking resource off the channel. There will be a bit of noise at the start because some partners will perceive there is going to be less IBM coverage, but this is not the case. There will be more dedicated resources offered to the channel than there has ever been in the UK. We have listened to what partners are asking for,” he said.
“The whole concept we have got to move to as an organisation with our channel is to higher value. It will not be to everybody’s taste – we will still work the traditional way with partners that want to do that – but we have to capture the shift to new buying behaviours, and look how we can leapfrog the competition. We have to re-energise our programmes and structure to encourage new selling models and work out how we enable that more effectively and provide more specialised resource to our partners,” he said.
Keep your eye on ChannelWeb as more details of the changes begin to emerge in the coming days.
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