Vendor unveils string of new resources, AI tools, and incentives at PartnerWorld
IBM is investing heavily in resources, AI-based tools, and new incentives to help partners acquire skills, market share, and profitability to expand upon what is best described as a channel recovery over the past two years. Through the investments, IBM says, its partners will become better positioned for accelerated growth.
The Lowdown: At the annual IBM PartnerWorld conference in San Francisco, IBM announced a number of channel program changes, new partner-facing tools and resources, and incentives around specific products. The intent is to give IBM partners a greater ability to execute against opportunities in artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and security.
The Details: The tools and resources available to IBM partners starting this month include the following:
> My PartnerWorld: A new portal that provides partners with better, easier onboarding and enablement resources. My PartnerWorld, which launches this week, is a straightforward, accessible single point of entry for all IBM partner tools and resources.
> AI Matchmaking: IBM is rolling out a new tool based on its Watson artificial intelligence platform for connecting partners with complementary skills and resources. The idea is to give partners a means of connecting with peers to accelerate customer engagements.
> New Managed Security Program: The new program will enable partners to sell and deliver IBM managed security services under a reseller or embedded model.
> Sales Enablement: The new Seismic@IBM marketing package provides partners with sales kits, playbooks, presentations, use cases and other materials essential for presenting products and conveying value propositions.
> Updated Deal Registration: IBM is making deal registration easier through its partner portal and is extending opportunity production to its cloud infrastructure services.
> IBM Cloud Paks: IBM is providing partners with enterprise-grade container software packages with instructions and support for hybrid and
> Cloud Digital Technical Engagement: A program that provides partners with access to training, sales support, and demonstration resources for selling cloud-based services.
> Product Sales Incentives: IBM is providing special rewards to partners that sell IBM Power Systems, LinuxONE, and Z ‘In It to Win It.’ Additionally, IBM is extending SPIFFs to partner sales reps that sell cloud subscriptions.
Background: According to John Teltsch, general manager of the IBM partner ecosystem, IBM is still rebuilding its partner network and ecosystem from an ebb in performance dating two years back. The incentives and resources are aimed at building upon the recovered momentum. According to IBM, partners drove more than $14 billion in sales through 84,000 customer engagements in 2018.
The Buzz: “Partners, I hope you take away our deep commitment to you and ecosystem-wide focus on listening and responding to your feedback,” said Teltsch in a blog about the PartnerWorld announcements. “Our IBM Partner Ecosystem team greatly appreciates your collaboration and ongoing participation in agile sessions to ensure that the initiatives we are launching today are exactly what the business needs. No matter how you go to market with IBM, we are squarely focused on your success.”
Channelnomics Point of View: IBM is one of the grandfathers of the channel, having cultivated partner relations going back decades. It’s not unusual for IBM to announce investments and resources aimed at improving partner performance and growth, but what’s unusual with this year’s announcement is the breadth and depth of the program resources and enhancements. The addition of AI-based tools for partner enablement alone could improve ease of doing business. Research by The 2112 Group finds ease of doing business is a significant factor in how partners engage and perform with their vendors.