IBM fosters SMB developers

IBM fosters SMB developers

IBM Software has renewed its efforts to crack the SMB market through a new program aimed at recruiting partners who develop software for small business.

This week, Big Blue is conducting a series of briefings touting its new Value Advantage Plus (VAP) program. The information and recruitment sessions on the incentive program will be held in Sydney (July 8), Melbourne (July 9)and Brisbane (July 10).

The VAP program offered support to IBM’s Independent Software Vendor (ISV) and Systems Integrator (SI) partners to embed their own applications with IBM’s middleware to take “repeatable solutions” to market, IBM Regional Manager for software channels and SMB, Duncan Hewett said.

“We’re after partners who have a solution they want to grow in the 100-1000 customer range,” Hewett said.

The program would help IBM’s ISV and SI partners reduce the risk of marketing their individual solutions, he said.

The program will be supported by IBM distributors, who will be paid an increased margin to support them, he said.

“Distributors will be providing business planning and support, credit terms, and running marketing programs,” Hewett said. The distributors involved with VAP are Express Data, Avnet Applied Computing and Alstom IT.

The VAP program is the latest initiative announced by IBM since it brought all its software partner programs under the Partner Advantage umbrella.

A key plank of the new Partner Advantage strategy had been the revamp of the margin structure, Hewett said.

“We’ve standardized and simplified the partner margin,” he said.

Margins were no longer calculated on a sliding scale according to the number of customer seats, Hewett said.

Meanwhile, IBM’s Top Contributor Initiative (TCI) for tier one resellers had achieved “just over 70 per cent growth” in revenues for 2002, he said.

Hewett attributed this growth to an emphasis on technical training.

“We’ve seen about the same increase in technical certifications," he said. "The partners who invest in technical skills have a corresponding growth in revenues.”

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