In announcing a new range of Unix servers which introduces copper technology "from top to bottom", IBM claimed it is targeting as much as 70 per cent of the enterprise class products to go through channel partners.
Derek Brand, general manager of IBM's Unix systems group, said he estimates that currently about 60 per cent of enterprise systems group business "by value" is going through channels. This, he said, is a figure he expects will be pushed towards 70 per cent under Internet-related demand.
"These days we are only not going though partners where the customers want that or where resellers can not add value," Brand said. "Channels have changed. They can offer so much more value these days and customers want solutions, not products, so we have to be [partnering with them] if we want to achieve the growth we have targeted."Brand did concede that IBM "needs to make it easier and more financially rewarding for channel partners to do business with us", but claimed it has recognised this and is revamping partner programs to suit.
IBM has a clearly stated goal of being "the number one player in Unix", according to Brand and it recognises this can only be achieved with the help of business partners.
"Channel partners are absolutely critical to our business," he said. "As we grow, we need more and more business partners in order to continue growing.
"The growth rates we are targeting with these products can't possibly be achieved without business partner growth. We just don't have the hands on deck to do it.
"These companies are very experienced, they understand the market, they have the applications that are going to run on the servers and they have the integration expertise."IBM's new server range is focused on delivering its mainframe functionality, flexibility and availability features into entry-level and mid-range servers.
It is claiming price performance equations that are the envy of its rivals and has clearly targeted HP and Sun to be the number one player in Unix-based systems.