IBM sees partner spike after server selloff

IBM global channel chief Marc Dupaquier

IBM global channel chief Marc Dupaquier

LAS VEGAS – IBM kicked off its 2015 PartnerWorld Leadership Conference here by quickly quashing any rumours that may have existed about its position in the channel after its sale of its x86 server business to Lenovo last year.

While IBM may have lost some partners in seling off that part of the business, it has spent the last year finding new ones, and Marc Dupaquier, global channel chief at Big Blue, shared a variety of metrics, including 9,600 new members of the PartnerWorld program compared to a year ago. The key to it, the Dupaquier said, has been the increased focus on “more money for more value.”

“We have a clear, consistent strategy – I am not in the volume business, I am not in the fulfillment business. I am in the value business. That’s what we did last year, and it continues this year.”

Those 9,600 new partners were almost equal one-for-one to the number of x86 server-only parnters who left PartnerWorld as a result of the deal with Lenovo, Dupaquier said.

Dupaquier shared a variety of strong growth numbers both for the PartnerWorld community and for the PWLC event including:

  • 950 business partner firms from 89 countries are attending this week’s event, up 260 partner organizations from last year’s event;
  • The company handed out 47,000 new certification to partner employees over the last year;
  • Two thirds of PartnerWorld members have some sort of a software practice now; and
  • IBM added 1,700 new MSPs to the community last year, bringing its MSP base up to 6,800 worldwide.

“We are the number one value partner ecosystem in the industry,” Dupaquier told attendees.

With the company now clearly aligned around its core markets – identified by Dupaquier as Watson, security, cloud, serices, systems, commerce, and analytics – the channel chief said partners will find IBM sinpler and more nimble to work with, changes that will be reinforced with significant changes to its partner program structure and organization within IBM to be announced later at this conference.

Steve Mills, executive vice president of hardware and software at IBM, said the company wants its program to be “the best in the industry, with the highest margins.”

“We want them to be the programs that both help you to be the most successful, and frankly, entice other partners from around the industry to rethink their partnerships.”