XChange Events

XSP Day 2, Mar 7, 2011

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THE OFFICIAL SHOW DAILY DAY TWO NEWS AND EVENTS FROM XCHANGE SOLUTION PROVIDER Tuesday, March 8, 2011 Walt Disney Dolphin Hotel Orlando, Florida IBM Has One Word For VARs: Simplicity Streamlined channel offerings, tools and specializations are key By Joseph F. Kovar IBM is dealing with an increas- ingly complex world by simplifying how it works with partners and cus- tomers, according to a trio of IBM executives who took the stage on day two of XChange Solution Provider for a panel moderated by Everything Channel Senior Vice President, Strategic Content, Robert C. DeMarzo. Elaine Case, vice president of North American Business Partner and Mid-market Marketing, said IBM is committed to simplifying its channel offerings even as it continues to change the way it does business. “We work on simplicity every day,” she said. “And I’m not kidding. … As we grow, it adds to complex- ity. And it’s almost like we’re fighting back against [complexity].” To that end, IBM has been push- ing its solution providers to work on specializations, including a recently unveiled cloud specialty, because the only way for it to grow is by giving partners the skills to grow as well. IBM also recently simplified its four largest co-marketing programs into a single program aligned with partner growth areas, Case said. Marsha Trant, North American vice president of Sales, Channels and Operations for IBM Global Technol- ogy Services, said recurring revenue is an important part of how IBM will deal with partners in the future. To make it easier to take advantage of recurring revenue, IBM developed a new tool called S2 that allows solution A Complex World: Looking to make things easier for VARs are (l. to r.) IBM’s Elaine Case, Shaun Jones and Marsha Trant. EC’s Robert DeMarzo moderates the panel. providers to download a standardized statement of work that can be used to prepare their own statement of work for customers in hours instead of weeks. IBM is also introducing industry The Right Investment: Jones details new certifications; Case discusses growth markets. Micro Strategies’ Ray Scardelli is invited on stage to talk about his cloud computing solution. certifications such as Software Plus, which helps solution providers improve skills in specific industries and in cloud computing to make more money, said Shaun Jones, vice president of Market ing for Worldwide Channels and for General Business Marketing in IBM’s Software Group. IBM promises double-digit extra margins and a bet- ter chance of getting the best customer opportunities to solution providers with the right certifications, Jones said. The changes are coming as IBM plans its next wave of growth. The company has publicly stated that it is committed to a yearly earnings per share of $20 by 2015, compared to $11.52 in 2010, Case said. That boost will come from an emphasis on growth markets, business analytics, cloud computing and IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative, she said. “This is important to you because we’re put- ting a significant investment into mak- ing this work for partners,” she said. It is certainly important for Ray Scardelli, vice president of sales and marketing for Micro Strategies, a Denville, N.J.-based solution provid- er singled out by IBM as an example of a partner taking advantage of its experience working with IBM’s cloud computing strategy. Micro Strategies is helping a start- up, Music Mastermind, develop a cloud-based offering that lets consum- ers with no musical talent put together and even collaborate with others on professional-sounding songs utilizing tracks from professional musicians. “IBM’s public cloud is, I believe, the only one strong enough to offer the security needed to do this,” he said. Photos: Gene Fedele

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