IBM To Link ISVs, VARs In Vertical Market Push

IBM plans to spend millions of dollars to help solution providers team up with ISVs and systems integrators on large-scale IT projects.

July 16, 2005

2 Min Read
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IBM plans to spend millions of dollars to help solution providers team up with ISVs and systems integrators on large-scale IT projects.

The Armonk, N.Y.-based IT giant is expanding its PartnerWorld Industry Networks beyond ISVs to include regional integrators and other solution providers. The program originally was designed to bring ISVs into the IBM Business Partner fold, but the new plan opens the program up to the entire IBM Business Partner community, including VARs, consultants and systems integrators.

We are trying to bring everything into a single point of convergence, said Donn Atkins, IBMs general manager of Global Business Partners.

IBM also is organizing the program around specific verticals. The public-sector market is the first out of the gate with an effort called Public Sector Edge. Other market-focused efforts planned will address industries such as retail, distribution and financial services.

We cant come close to covering this market, so we need all of you, Bob Samson, general manager of IBM Global Public Sector, told solution providers as he announced the project last week at CMP XChange Government Integrator in Washington. Samson pegged the global public-sector market at $210 billion annually.Alex Gogh, vice president of marketing for the Global Public Sector at IBM, said the marketspanning the government, health-care, life-sciences and education segmentswas chosen because it is the largest vertical.

The strategy is to focus all marketing resources from IBM related to the public sector in one program and one Web portal, Gogh said. The company had increased the enablement materials to partners by 20 percent across all channels, he added.

PartnerWorld Industry Networks was originally an ISV introduction, Gogh said. In 18 months in PartnerWorld Industry Networks, we have grown the government, health-care and life-sciences [channels] to over 1,500 ISVs.

Reaction to the Public Sector Edge announcement ran the gamut among the solution provider attendees at XChange.

Greg Schulstad, vice president of marketing at Emergys, a Chapel Hill, N.C.-based solution provider and IBM Business Partner, said he was inspired and fully expected the new program would help his company find partners to team with in the education and health-care markets.You dont always have the skills you need for a total solution, but among the whole community, you can find those skillsand Public Sector Edge should help do that.

Others in the audience were skeptical. If youre serious about having us as partners, you need to establish relationships with us, said John Rivers, vice president at Multimax, a Largo, Md.-based solution provider focusing on the government market. And Im not sure how Public Sector Edge is going to help with that.

TIMOTHY LONG contributed to this story.

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