IBM has vowed that no partner will be left out in the cold as it shifts the majority of its hardware business to a co-sell channel model.
As exclusively revealed by CRN in July, Big Blue announced to top Systems & Technology (STG) partners last month that it will stop paying STG sales staff on all but its largest accounts globally, unless the deal is transacted by a partner.
Today, IBM is confirming the move to its wider partner base.
The process is already under way in the UK, where just 23 to 27 of its largest accounts have been designated as "industry" accounts that will be immune from the changes.
But for all other enterprise accounts, STG sales staff will now only net compensation if they put the deal through a partner. There are no changes to how STG goes to market in the mid-market, where – like IBM's other divisions – it already operates a channel-led model. IBM classifies mid-market as firms with 1,000 employees of fewer.
Jacqui Davey (pictured), vice president of sales and transformation for STG Europe, told CRN the shake-up would give partners "certainty and clarity that everyone is aligned to the same objective."
Big Blue is establishing a new STG channel management team made up of "brand sellers" and technical support staff, that will work with core partners, she confirmed.
But Davey said every partner would be given the opportunity to demonstrate their value to STG.
"It's not like we'll be sitting down with a big list and saying ‘here, you have these'," she said. "In each case it will be based on customer requirements and the partner's capabilities."
Davey confirmed the process is under way now.
"I would advise partners to work with the local STG sales team and client teams to demonstrate their skills and look for areas of mutual opportunity for growth in the new model," she counselled. Some of the new resource will be allocated to distribution, meaning even smaller partners will get increased focus from STG, she added.
"This is not a cost-based decision but one based on value and market reach. It's a recognition that STG's channel maturity and skills are fully capable of delivering enhanced value for both parties."
"We will give every business partner the opportunity to demonstrate value to the STG salesforce and to customers," she said.
IBM said the move would also allow it to grow STG's sales.
There are no plans to roll out the coverage changes to IBM's other divisions.
In a blog that went out to partners this morning, IBM's new vice president of worldwide channel sales for STG, Dave Carlquist, said that moving to a co-selling model would make business partners the primary route-to-market for servers, storage and networking for the majority of IBM's clients.
Carlquist said: "I am confident that together we can drive more IBM business by engaging the skilled resources of our Business Partner firms and extending our combined reach into the marketplace. Together, we offer a stronger value proposition for our clients, which results in a win for all.
"IBM looks forward to teaming with our loyal Business Partners in this new co-selling model and driving systems sales for the remainder of 2013 and beyond."
CRN pulls out the key information from Microsoft's Q4, which took the vendor above $100bn for the year
Investment will include an AI research centre in London
John Coulston outlines Rackspace's plans to partner with the channel in the UK
Chris Bunch of Microsoft partner Cloudreach gives his take on this year's Inspire conference