IBM set to expand Middle East distributor line-up

Big Blue plans to appoint up to five new distributors in the Middle East to strengthen its channel’s ability to resell IBM’s software and packaged service offerings.

  • E-Mail
By  Stuart Wilson Published  March 16, 2004

IBM plans to expand the number of distributors it works with in the Middle East during 2004. The move comes hot-on-the-heels of the regional launch of IBM’s global partner programme, PartnerWorld. Big Blue already has a strong regional channel-to-market for its hardware portfolio and now wants to replicate that success in the software and packaged services arena. Speaking at IBM’s recent two-day Business Partner Executive Council (BPEC) event in Dubai, Thomas Prommer, director business partners IBM Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, told Channel Middle East: “We have a clear picture of how we want to approach the market, the number of partners we need in distributor and reseller mode and the goals and the aims of the second-tier partner network. You can expect IBM to announce between three and five new distributors in the region covering Levant, Saudi Arabia, GCC and Pakistan. Discussions are ongoing at present and we will ensure we sign the right partners by working closely with them on the joint business plan.” IBM is already in discussions with one global partner to expand its coverage across the Middle East region. “Distributors play a vital role in reselling IBM software,” adds Prommer. “They ensure product availability and help build up the partner network. IBM wants distributors that can work closely with the ISV community and solution providers in the market.” IBM works closely with potential new distributors to ensure they do not just enter markets served by existing partners. “This is something we examine and look to understand when preparing a business plan with a potential new distributor,” adds Prommer. “It is all about give and take. When we select a distributor, they often want to work with the existing partner network while we want them to recruit new partners. We sit down, discuss the issues and reach an agreement.” “We are behind our expectations in software sales through the [Middle East] channel,” admits Prommer. “We are putting changes in place internally at IBM to alter the situation. Grid levels have been put in and we are not allowed to engage direct in deals below a certain revenue level. We will engage with the customer but pass the lead onto the Business Partners.” IBM’s channel expansion is aimed at bulking up its routes-to-market in specific areas by finding focused distributors prepared to work in certain business areas with new partners. It is not intended to create a situation of over-distribution and channel conflict with existing distributor partners. IBM’s internal sales teams are also being offered benefits, targets and bonuses that actively encourage them to pass leads onto the channel.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code