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IBM Establishes New Cloud Computing and Business Analytics Partner Initiatives

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Responding to demand from its global business partner community, IBM today unveiled new skills development, marketing, technical and sales programs to help IBM business partners capture the growing market opportunities in cloud computing and business analytics.

With the volume of data in the world growing exponentially every year, the ability to quickly extract key insights from that data is critical. Today, nearly 95 percent of IBM analytics engagements with mid-sized organizations are driven by a network of analytics-focused IBM business partners that has grown to nearly 1,000 companies.

Signaling another growth opportunity for the IT industry, a recent IBM developerWorks survey of more than 2,000 IT professionals worldwide showed that 91 percent believe cloud computing will overtake on-premise computing as the primary way organizations acquire IT by 2015.  

"Many IT companies are looking to grow their businesses via the cloud and analytics opportunities, and customers are looking to work with those who can demonstrate credibility and proven experience," said Jim Corgel, general manager ISV and Developer Relations, IBM. "The initiatives announced today will help clients identify the top cloud and analytics providers, and help our partners engage more closely with each other and with IBM in these key growth areas."

IBM provides its 120,000 business partners with the specific skills and resources they need to help them grow their businesses. With these new initiatives, IBM sharpens its focus on cloud computing and business analytics as two substantial opportunities where its partners can help customers transform into smarter businesses in 2011.

New Partner Cloud Computing Resources

In support of the growing cloud computing opportunity -- expected to more than double from $68.3 billion in 2010 to $148.8 billion in 2014, according to industry analysts -- today's announcement includes the launch of the new IBM Cloud Computing Specialty.

This new IBM business partner initiative creates a single program to develop the IT industry's broadest ecosystem of companies working together to provide a wide range of cloud computing services and technologies for clients of all sizes and industries.

The IBM Cloud Computing Specialty will support five types of business partners that demonstrate their expertise and customer success in cloud computing:

  • Cloud Application Providers -- deliver business applications via a subscription model through the cloud such as Software as a Service  
  • Cloud Builders -- design, build and manage clients' cloud needs, typically integrating with existing infrastructure and public, private and hybrid clouds.
  • Cloud Infrastructure Providers -- provide a public cloud infrastructure or Platform as a Service on which application providers and companies can host their offerings  
  • Cloud Services Solution Providers -- resell multiple public cloud services and offer complementary services such as training and integration.
  • Cloud Technology Providers -- provide the tools, services and technologies -- such as cloud management, billing metering and monitoring -- that help clients use the cloud more effectively.      

Members can gain access to a wide range of IBM cloud computing marketing and sales enablement resources to help them build, market and sell cloud computing solutions. These include an assigned IBM relationship manager to provide day-to-day support, confidential updates on the IBM cloud strategy and roadmap, business development funds to invest in marketing and events, invitations to IBM business development workshops, assessment tools to develop customized client recommendations for cloud strategies, and expanded use of LotusLive to more fully demonstrate how partner offerings use IBM cloud technology.

"IBM software is at the core of our cloud-based supply chain collaboration platform for the retail industry," said Chris Clinton, senior vice president, global channel management, TradeCard.  "The value of the IBM Cloud Specialty is immense as we now have assigned IBM support to help us with technical, sales and marketing resources while also getting insider access to IBM's cloud roadmap."

IBM today also introduced the first IBM Cloud Computing Authorization designed specifically for IBM software resellers. While the IBM Cloud Computing Specialty focuses on the development and promotion of top cloud partners, the new authorization is an extension of the IBM Software Value Plus program, specifically for software business partners that have built and demonstrated specialty skills, and then receive financial incentives as resellers of IBM's software portfolio.    

IBM business partners that meet the program requirements, such as passing two IBM cloud computing certification tests, providing a cloud offering that includes multiple IBM technologies, and demonstrating successful client implementations, are able to sell a broad range of IBM cloud computing offerings, receive priority cloud computing lead passing consideration, and opportunities to attend joint planning meetings with IBM sales teams.

New Partner Analytics Resources

According to a 2010 IBM Global Study of 1,900 CFOs, nearly 60 percent of midmarket CFOs surveyed said they were not satisfied with their forecasting capability. The majority of respondents also clearly indicated the need for sophisticated analytics that can uncover correlations and patterns among many sources of information.  

As part of today's news, IBM is helping its business partners support these clients by expanding access to advanced analytics technology and hands-on assistance to design, build, market and deliver new analytics offerings. In 2011, the IBM Innovation Centers in more than 30 countries worldwide will provide these capabilities to partners with client opportunities via new training courses focused on business analytics technologies.

IBM also launched new IBM Cognos Express Planner analytics software, specifically designed and priced to help mid-sized organizations drive a more integrated, automated and collaborative approach to build financial plans, anticipate performance gaps, budget and prioritize resources, and gain critical insights into profit and growth.  

One IBM business partner, Philadelphia-based ISA Consulting, recently saved Concept One Accessories, a mid-sized wholesale manufacturer of accessories, two weeks of time per quarter on time otherwise spent manually gathering data and developing reports. With IBM analytics software for the midmarket and consulting services from ISA, Concept One Accessories will be able to quickly tap into ongoing performance results then analyze sales and corresponding inventory figures and budgets before building quarterly forecasting.

"With IBM analytics software we can help our midmarket clients completely automate their planning process, enabling business users to define and deploy new planning, budgeting and forecasting applications in minutes without any IT assistance," said Chris Ferrara, vice president, business intelligence practice, ISA Consulting. "By reducing planning cycles by as much as 75 percent on average, our clients can quickly align resources and take advantage of sudden market shifts to grow their business."

The IBM Cloud Computing Specialty is now available. The IBM Cloud Computing Authorization will open for enrollment in May 2011.

For more information on IBM cloud computing and business analytics partner initiatives, please visit www.ibm.com/partner/cloud and http://www.ibm.com/partnerworld/page/pw_sol_svc_sol_smp_info_analytics.

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