IBM has awarded specialisations to its list of distributors for its five software platforms. The changes have also seen the vendor appoint two new distributors - LAN Systems and Igatech - to its ranks.
Specialisations for the WebSphere and Rational software platforms have been awarded to all three of its existing distributors: Express Data, Avnet and itX.
itX and Express Data have also scored specialisations in the lucrative Lotus application management software stack, while Avnet and itX have been awarded Tivoli storage.
Avnet managing director, Colin McKenna, said it had been unsuccessful in gaining a specialisation for the Information Management (DB2) suite, but had not attempted to secure the Lotus platform.
Alongside WebSphere and Rational, Express Data will act as value-added distributor of Tivoli security and automation products. IBM has also struck up a fresh partnership with networking and security distributor, LAN Systems, to carry the Tivoli security and automation products.
The biggest alteration is the distributors accessing the DB2 Information management software suite - boutique distributors, Meier Business Systems (MBS) and Igatech Consulting.
MBS, Igatech and LAN Systems will also have limited access to the WebSphere range at a standard level.
MBS director, Martin Meier, was elated about the company's new specialisation. It has distributed U2 relational database management products - which IBM acquired when buying Informix four years ago - since the 1980s. Last year, the deal broadened to include the full Informix suite, he said.
The new specialisation would open MBS up to dealing with some of the most significant VARs and systems integrators in the country, while obtaining specialist discounts and special bid pricing for its resellers on all products under the information management umbrella, Meier said.
"We are overwhelmed by the opportunity and the work that is going with it, but it's an incredible vote of confidence in us from IBM," he said.
Although supportive of IBM's decision to specialise in principle, Avnet's McKenna was concerned about the number of distributors awarded specialisations across the same product categories.
"There are more distributors with specialisations than I thought," he said. "I'm not sure what impact that will have on margins. If there's more margins to reinvest that will be a good thing. But if we get the same outcomes it won't be worth it."
LAN Systems' general manager, Wendy O'Keeffe, said it began talking with IBM last year about taking on its Tivoli security products. It had only tendered for the security and automation series. She supported IBM's decision to introduce specialisations, claiming the market called for a higher level of skills.
IBM announced its intention to give its software distribution line-up a facelift in September by introducing specialisations.
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