NEW ORLEANS — IBM Corp. opened PartnerWorld with rising channel opportunities for the mid-market and shots at competitors’ declining revenues.

Michael Borman, general manager of IBM’s global business partners division, mocked Sun Microsystems

Corp. for its dropping sales income, saying, “”When they put the dot into dot-com, they forgot how they were going to connect the dots.””

Hewlett-Packard Co., he said, has chosen to focus on printing technology, leaving its server customers “”no alternative but to migrate to something else. This should be a gold mine for all of us.””

As for middleware application vendor BEA, its architecture is difficult to configure and scale, Borman said.

Such partisanship might be expected when addressing a crowd of nearly 3,000 resellers, consultants, integrators and independent software vendors. They are here to find out how they will fit into what Borman said are IBM’s two main strategies for the coming year, pushing what Big Blue calls “”on-demand computing,”” and getting business from small and mid-sized companies.

On Tuesday IBM is expected to announce details of a new channel partners program, which will give product pricing discounts and financial rewards to resellers who steer customers to buying IBM products and services.

Among Monday’s announcements aimed at helping partners, IBM said a new On Demand Sales Pack is now available for download. It’s a collection of tools and products resellers can use to help sell IBM products related to on-demand computing. These products include easier to install versions of its WebSphere line of applications. The aids include Customer Advisor Tool, Profiler for E-Business and E-Business Collaboration.

IBM is promising that partners will also get specialized training on how to sell on-demand solutions, as well as new campaigns to help them market these solutions. All this is part of the US$100 million IBM says it will spend this year to assist partners get business.

The effort impresses Steve McHale, vice-president of research for software partnering and alliances at IDC, who said it’s needed if IBM wants to seriously attack the mid-market.

However, he added, much depends on how IBM executes its plan. Also announced yesterday is IBM Community Tools, a suite of peer-to-peer applications for group problem solving on IBM’s iSeries systems. Community Tools is a messaging client using technologies from several IBM applications such as Lotus Sametime letting linked users ask questions, hold discussions, send alerts and search multiple databases.

IBM also announced a business partners’ solution grid, a North American-wide grid computing environment which will allow software vendors to run grid applications they are building in simulation.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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