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IBM Launches Cloud Partner Program

IBM is kicking off a new program intended to make it easier for partners to sell the company's cloud-based products.

Big Blue unveiled the new Cloud Computing Specialty at its PartnerWorld Leadership Conference in Orlando last week. Up until now, the company lacked a cohesive go-to-market strategy for its various cloud initiatives.

"We did have a couple of programs that were in certain areas but as we looked at what cloud has become, there are so many more opportunities now," said Dave Mitchell, director of strategy and emerging business for IBM's ISV and developer relations organization. "Our portfolio has become so much wider, and our capabilities have become so much broader, that we felt it was a good time to really see how we could bring this together into a single story."

The company has identified five types of cloud partners it is addressing:

  • Cloud Application Providers: Typically, these are ISVs that are moving toward the Software as a Service (SaaS) model.
  • Cloud Builders: Systems integrators, consultants and solution providers that build private clouds for customers.
  • Cloud Infrastructure Providers: Telcos, regional hosters and managed service providers, and anyone building out cloud infrastructure.
  • Cloud Services Solution Providers: Those that resell multiple cloud services to offer custom or vertical solutions for customers.
  • Cloud Technology Providers: Companies that provide tools aimed at extending the value of public clouds, such as cloud management, billing and monitoring software.

Each of the five parts of the program has its own defined criteria for skills, revenue and references that partners can establish, Mitchell said. And in return, there's detailed go-to-market benefits and technical support benefits that are customized for each of the paths.

Using its LotusLive network, IBM is also linking partners together so they can collaborate on deals, Mitchell added.

While the Cloud Computing Specialty is aimed at partner development, IBM last week also launched its first authorization and certification program for its software resellers. The IBM Cloud Computing Authorization program is an extension of the company's existing software reseller program known as the IBM Software Value Plus program.

"These two programs are very complementary," Mitchell said, referring to the skills and specialties required.

Partners who join the program and get certifications in the right combination of products, including the WebSphere CloudBurst appliance, Tivoli Service Manager, Tivoli Provisioning Manager, IBM Solution Delivery Manager and some of the cloud development tools in the Rational development suite, will be eligible for incremental margin incentives.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 02/24/2011 at 1:14 PM


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