IBM tells channel partners to unite

Middle East IBM resellers wishing to flourish in the vendor's partner community will increasingly have to collaborate with each other to deliver end-user solutions, according to the company's senior channel VP for the region.

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By  Andrew Seymour Published  May 20, 2008

Middle East IBM resellers wishing to flourish in the vendor's partner community will increasingly have to collaborate with each other to deliver end-user solutions, according to the company's senior channel VP for the region.

David Cornick, who is responsible for the Middle East in his capacity as Northeast Europe VP channels and business partners, insists partners must abandon any concerns over competitive conflict and accept that they will need to work jointly with other partners in the wake of customers' extensive demands.

"In many cases partners can't provide it all themelves so by the very nature of the demand they have to partner," he commented. "We see our role as one of enabling, encouraging, skilling up and bringing them together. What we are focusing on is how we get partners to understand what we have to offer, and secondly who they can work with in the region to help them build a solution for a client locally."

In an effort to get the partner ‘ecosystem' functioning more smoothly, IBM will introduce its Value Net Connections programme to the Middle East during the second half of this year. The initiative is designed to provide IBM business partners with the resources and tools to locate ISVs, integrators and solution providers with the skills or expertise that they need to ensure delivery of an end-to-end solution.

"We are providing the infrastructure for the profiling and networking, and we are enabling partners to come together," explained Cornick. "We want to encourage that, and we want to do it for two reasons: one is that by doing this clients get better solutions, and two, we can put more of the IBM infrastructure and value add into those solutions."

IBM says that by using Value Net to find complementary partners, resellers can profit from reduced up-front investment and compressed sales cycles without losing their influence as the lead in a project.

One factor that has traditionally impeded vendors' attempts to harness channel ecosystems is the reluctance of partners to work with companies they also consider competition. Cornick insists the channel must overcome this mindset.

"I see in many cases that if a partner takes one opportunity in a client it could be in competition with another partner, and then in another opportunity with the same client it could find it is partnering with them," he said. "This is more and more becoming just a reality of life, which is why partners have to carefully choose the opportunity and who they are going to work with."

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