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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.


333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States


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News & Articles

August 30, 2012 |

Partners Key to IBM’s Roadmap

Mark Hennessy of the IBM Global Business Partners and Midmarket organization details new opportunities for SMB partners in Big Blue’s product roadmap.

At midyear in his new role as general manager for IBM’s Global Business Partner Organization, Mark Hennessy says IBM is delivering on its commitment to help drive growth and profitability for its channel partners, who are key to the company’s roadmap for 2015.

IBM is growing partner participation across all of its brands in support of the 2015 roadmap, Hennessy notes. “We have laid out for our employees as well as for the marketplace a view of 2015 and our aspirations and plans to get there. Partners play very strongly in that plan. Their participation will grow in each brand—hardware, software, [and] services.”

According to Hennessy, current opportunities for partners fall into three major categories. “First is the idea of getting into new markets. The SMB market is a very clear priority for us and for our partners,” he says, adding that IBM continues to expand partner-led territories around the world, especially in high-growth markets. The company is successfully recruiting new types of partners—such as MSPs—as well, he notes. “We’ve had good success recruiting new MSPs this year,” Hennessy says. “There are 600 that have signed up.”

The second area of opportunity is building new offerings around IBM products, Hennessy continues, particularly in business analytics, cloud computing, and IBM’s Smarter Cities and Smarter Planet initiatives. Rather than simply selling a product, he says, partners want to develop the expertise they need to sell a complete solution, and then leverage that expertise to gain more business.

As an illustration, Hennessy cites an IBM partner on the West Coast who developed a CFO analytics dashboard powered by IBM’s Cognos business intelligence software. “They have built up their expertise to tune that for many different types of SMB clients, and they are leveraging that client by client,” he says.

Hennessy notes that IBM is supporting this type of effort in the analytics area by promoting skill development and providing tools and references. Also, he says, “We are doing a lot of work in terms of co-marketing campaigns [and] identifying opportunities in the SMB space.”

The third area of opportunity is around new IBM products such as PureSystems, Hennessy says. The PureSystems family consists of expert integrated systems designed to help partners get clients up and running faster. IBM introduced its first two PureSystems offerings in April: IBM PureFlex System, an end-to-end infrastructure solution, and IBM PureApplication System, a transactional Web and database platform solution.

According to Hennessy, many partners wish to expand beyond traditional IT services into line-of-business solutions, as well as to add new customers. “PureSystems is helping on both of those fronts because it’s an integrated system, provides real flexibility, and is helping partners go to clients with faster ROI,” he says, adding that partners can also use PureSystems in a managed service environment. “In the SMB space and midmarket more clients will be consuming IT through this services environment,” Hennessy predicts.

Uptake for PureSystems has been strong so far, Hennessy reports, partly because businesses are eager to do less integration themselves these days. “They’re looking to spend less for integration and on-premise IT, and they’re looking for partners to deliver. When we can help partners with an integrated approach it helps drive the agenda with clients,” Hennessy says.

As for driving the agenda with partners, IBM is counting heavily on the new sales incentives it’s been introducing this year. For example, in February the company announced IBM Solution Accelerator, a channel incentive for selling servers or storage in combination with a variety of IBM software products.

“If a partner sells the hardware and software piece together and provides higher value they can get incremental margin,” Hennessy says. IBM is also striving to simplify incentive and compensation stacks, he continues, and to help partners strengthen the skills they need to deliver the company’s solutions. “The same is true when we see partners working in a competitive space and gaining share for us,” Hennessy says. “We’re anxious to help them with their investment by providing more margin.”

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