IBM to merge software, Lotus partner programs

Taking the philosophy that one program is better than two, IBM is merging its BESTeam business partner program for software resellers with the business partner program of subsidiary Lotus Development.

According to IBM software channels manager Julie Yardley, IBM begins rolling the programs together worldwide at the end of the year, and expects the Australian operation to follow suit early next year.

Yardley says that for most partners the change will have little impact. She said in many cases partners were already members of both programs, which is primarily why the programs are being merged.

One program doesn't mean diminished support though, said Yardley. "All of the pillars and the sections that the partners are interested in will remain. It's important to do that, because we've got some specialised partners that are really only interested in Notes or databases."

She said the autonomy of the Lotus offerings to the channel will remain.

"In terms of merging and lever-aging we have to do what makes sense for our partners, and it doesn't matter whether it's Lotus or whether it's IBM."

Yardley said further synergy exists through both programs being administered in Australia by external firm Apcon, which will now administer the combined program.