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IBM Unveils New Initiatives to Help Business Partners Accelerate Industry Transformation


BARCELONA, Spain and ARMONK, N.Y., -- Pointing to industry expertise as the way for software business partners to drive high-margin sales, IBM (NYSE: IBM) today rolled out three new initiatives designed to help partners capture their piece of the $2.4 trillion information technology opportunity. The company introduced an industry-specific program for software developers and greatly expanded industry support for software resellers.

The initiatives are focused on providing training and sales, marketing and technical resources to help partners grow their business in specific industries including financial services, telecommunications, healthcare, retail and energy and utilities. And, responding to the dramatic growth in security requirements across these industries, IBM partners can for the first time achieve cross-industry authorization to sell security solutions based on IBM software.

Industry by industry, customers are applying technology differently to meet their business goals. For example, customers in the financial services industry are struggling to meet compliance regulations, manage risk, and grow profits in a challenging economy.

“The applications we provide for financial institutions require deep knowledge of the industry,” said Joe Mazzetti, Executive Vice President Corporate Development, Fundtech. “Our expertise is highly focused on the specific solution areas in which our products operate. These new industry solution programs from IBM can significantly extend our reach and help us uncover and win new business together.”

In a recent IBM developerWorks survey of more than 2,000 IT professionals in 87 countries, 90 percent said they believe it is important to possess vertical industry-specific skills for their jobs, yet 63 percent admit they are lacking the industry knowledge needed to remain competitive.

IBM Business Partners also point to industry expertise as a way to drive more business. According to IDC’s Partner Profitability 2010 study, selling IBM Software positively impacts Business Partner profitability, with IBM rated as the highest vendor for profitability and complementary business over any other vendor’s brand. Nearly 90 percent of IBM Business Partners report that IBM software either made them more profitable or led to complementary business. More IBM Business Partners report margins are higher than the competition and IBM Business Partners outnumbered those who sell/influence Oracle software, both as a primary and secondary brand.*

IBM Industry Solutions Specialty

The IBM Industry Solutions Specialty is a new partner program for independent software vendors (ISVs) focused on key industries including telecommunications, banking, insurance, retail, healthcare, government, energy and utilities, automotive, aerospace, electronics, and chemicals and petroleum. Under the new program, qualifying partners will receive:

* Access to new technology resources and IBM Innovation Centers including cloud and mobile application development
* Dedicated IBM experts and technical advocates to speed application development and delivery to joint customers
* Business development and demand generation funding for industry-specific marketing campaigns
* Opportunities for co-selling and industry event participation

The new IBM Industry Solutions Specialty will help partners leverage IBM Industry Frameworks, which have been expanded to include hardware. These frameworks bridge the gap between general purpose middleware and industry specific business applications to help organizations apply technology more easily to their industry. Since their introduction in 2008, more than 150 ISVs have brought to market applications based on the IBM frameworks. And over 1,000 customers have taken advantage of new business opportunities by becoming smarter and more interconnected using the frameworks. IBM is sharing this rich expertise based on customer experience with partners through the IBM Industry Specialty.

Partner programs for resellers have also been greatly expanded.

IBM Software Value Plus Industry Authorization

IBM today also introduced a first-of-a-kind IBM Industry Authorization initiative designed for resellers and system integrators with deep industry skills and solutions built with IBM software. This new initiative is an extension of IBM Software Value Plus program, announced earlier this year, that helps software partners build sales, technical and marketing skills on IBM’s software portfolio.

IBM Business Partners that meet the program requirements, such as passing two IBM Industry Mastery tests, demonstrating their solution aligns with IBM Industry Frameworks or strategy, and demonstrating successful client implementations, are provided with several benefits to grow their industry sales.

New elements include:

* Additional financial incentives for industry sales within the IBM Software Value Incentive program
* Additional funding for industry specific co-marketing activities
* Priority access to industry-focused technical enablement and industry assets
* A dedicated executive advocate to represent partners across IBM and with customers
* Ability to use the “Authorized Software Value Plus - Industry” designation

“IBM’s focus on specialization skills complements Avnet’s investments in developing industry expertise for our partners in key vertical markets like energy, financial services, retail and healthcare with our proven SolutionsPath® methodology,” said Tony Madden, global supplier business executive, Avnet Technology Solutions. “The combined strength of Avnet and IBM’s focus on industry-specific solutions gives our partners a distinct advantage to better meet customer requirements while accelerating their success in high-growth markets.”

IBM Software Value Plus Security Authorization

In another first, IBM launched its IBM Security Authorization for business partners participating in the Software Value Plus program. The new authorization helps partners develop industry-specific skills to help customers take a comprehensive approach to IT security via a mix of sound policy, best practices and end-to-end technologies based on IBM software.

Benefits include:

* Authorization to sell a broad range of security solutions based on IBM software including InfoSphere, IBM Internet Security Solutions, Optim, Rational, Tivoli and WebSphere
* Additional financial incentives on security software sales
* Ability to use “Authorized Software Value Plus - Security” designation

Technology companies interested in becoming an IBM Business Partner can visit to learn how.

For more information on IBM, visit

* IDC, Partner Profitability 2010: Revenue and Profitability in the Era of the Cloud (U.S.), September 2010.


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