IBM has scrapped the four individual tracks of its PartnerWorld program and replaced it with a single entity to simplify relationships with its partner community.
To date, partners had enrolled in one or more of IBM's tracks – Systems and Services, Software, Personal Systems, or Developer – each of which had its own membership criteria and benefits.
IBM’s director of global business partners for A/NZ, Andrew Baker, said the program was evolving in response to its business partners doing the same.
More than half of its partners sold more than one IBM product, he said.
This led to a potentially confusing scenario where they could be at different accreditation levels across different product sets.
IBM will adjust the formula it uses to calculate its partners' membership levels, which it categorises as ‘member’, ‘advanced’ or ‘premier’ based on a points system.
The new system rates partners on revenue, skills and customer satisfaction. As partners increase their relationship with IBM, they gain access to a corresponding increase in support.
The change was based upon the recognition that business partners were Big Blue’s clear route to market, according to Baker, and reinforced the strategy of driving business through its partners.
“The support IBM provides to business partners will be aligned to industry recognised business models including consultants, systems integrators, resellers and independent software vendors [ISVs],” Baker said.
A redesigned PartnerWorld website streamlines access to its content and there is also an optional "value package', according to IBM. This buys entry to a variety of IBM services and assistance – including sales and marketing centres, reimbursements for some training and certification costs, and some free software from its portfolio.
Premier Business Partners would be recognised through a different emblem and receive additional marketing, sales and technical support benefits.
Locally, national marketing manager Avnet, Michael Costigan, was pleased with the announcement.
“Streamlining is definitely good," he said. "It will encourage a greater number of partners to contribute. The new (Premier) emblem will show recognition of partners’ efforts for going above and beyond and will help resellers in dealing with end users. As far as we’ve been concerned it’s never been easier to deal with IBM, than in the past six months."