I recently had the opportunity to talk to Terry Copeland, a Program Manager at IBM who happens to be an expert in many PartnerWorld program tools, including the Profitability Tool. Lately, Copeland has been doing a lot of traveling; attending many key IBM and Business Partner conferences, where he teaches partners how to use tools like the Business Partner Profitability Tool.
Says Copeland, "Many IBM Business Partners have never heard of the Business Partner Profitability tool. However, once they understand what it is and how to use it, they absolutely love it."
So what exactly is the Business Partner Profitability Tool, and what's so great about it?
The Business Partner Profitability Tool is an enhancement to an old tool that was sunset several years ago, the Business Partner Return on Investment Tool. While the old tool was spreadsheet-based and cumbersome to update, this new, web-based tool has a database which can be easily updated as products change over time.
The enhanced Business Partner Profitability Tool is a planning tool that IBM Business Partners can use to determine how to best utilize their company's resources, including time, money and personnel. The tool is free for all PartnerWorld members, but primary users would include Resellers, VADs, Business Partner Reps and VAD Recruitment Reps, who would probably see the most benefit from the tool, according to Copeland. The Profitability Tool provides users with:
- a Solution Summary, including product description, as well as average sales cycle, pricing and service drag
- an Enablement Summary, including cost and duration of all sales and technical training that will be required to sell the product
- an Investment Summary, including expected sales and service revenues, gross margin, cash flow and break-even analysis
- Ability to customize the default assumptions in the tool for your needs
The Profitability Tool is different from the Grow Your Business with IBM Software Tool
(GYB Tool), and is meant to be a complimentary product. For example, if a business partner were considering expanding their solutions offerings, they might first consult the GYB Tool to quickly identify logical product parings based on the current portfolio of offerings. They could then use the Profitability Tool to drill down for specifics, to see if the recommendations are a fit with the company's skills, business model and financial goals. Because the tool has the ability to quickly demonstrate how a product can fit with your current portfolio of offerings, it is also serves as a great tool for VADs and Recruitment Reps.