IBM completes annual partner conference

Over one hundred partners from across the Middle East, Egypt and Pakistan descended on Dubai yesterday for IBM’s annual Business Partner Executive Conference (BPEC). The event reviewed the vendor’s performance over the last year and laid out its plans across its business groups for 2006.

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By  Andy Tillett Published  April 26, 2006

Over one hundred partners from across the Middle East, Egypt and Pakistan descended on Dubai yesterday for IBM’s annual Business Partner Executive Conference (BPEC). The event reviewed the vendor’s performance over the last year and laid out its plans across its business groups for 2006. A healthy host of channel partners met to discuss IBM’s main business areas, including its strategies for independent software vendors and systems integrators, document archival and retrieval solutions, software channels, ERP solutions and an executive review of its eServer xSeries line. “What was particularly good this year was the fact that we had many partners who participated at the event and shared with the audience their experience working with IBM, in particular the solutions that they have developed using IBM technology. This really put forward to the audience exactly how it works in practice, not just the theory,” said Ilse Cilliers, software sales vice president, channels, SMB and tele, Northeast Europe. Cilliers also praised the levels of skill shown by this region’s partners and how favourably they compared to their counterparts in Europe. “Based on what we have seen today and the partner’s showcasing of their solutions, I would say they compare very well to the more traditional markets and the level of innovation particularly in the Middle East is very encouraging,” she said. In its software group, IBM outlined a focus on building its value-add channel. Cilliers spoke of the large potential in the middleware space; saying to capitalise on this opportunity it needs to be confident and able to add value. She stressed the need for partners developing their own service capability and applications around IBM middleware to be able to present a full solution to customers. The conference also outlined a close attention and further encouragement of partners to develop their presence in IBM’s strongest vertical sectors, outlined by Bashar Kilani, head of SWG at IBM in the Middle East. “Government and banking are still our strongest sectors. The governments in this region spend a lot of money; many of them are investing a lot in and in many cases transforming their IT infrastructure. The banking sector comes second and then telecommunications companies,” said Kilani. The conference concluded that IBM’s key objectives for 2006 are to retain its base of customers, support business partners in their objectives, continue enablement projects and use its distributors to reach out with their skills. IBM also pledged more investment in demand generation and co-marketing.

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