The IBM PartnerWorld Leadership Conference
is in full swing today in sunny Orlando, Florida. The conference is a unique event that brings together Business Partners and IBM leadership in order to share strategies for delivering innovation and value for our clients, strengthening our ecosystem and transforming our businesses for growth and profitability. It is also the place where IBM announces it's prestigious Beacon Awards
, which recognize the best solutions from IBM Business Partners around the world.
Today's theme was Transformation in the Decade of Smart
, and the day featured appearances by some of the top IBM leadership, including Sam Palmisano, Rich Hume, Steve Mills, Rod Atkins and Robert LeBlanc. One of the hottest conversation topics was cloud computing -- not at all surprising, since a recent forecast by Gartner
predicted that the worldwide cloud market opportunity
, which was $68 billion last year, will more than double in the next four years to around $150 billion.
In keeping with this key opportunity and based on the feedback from IBM Business Partners, IBM made two important announcements today around cloud computing, including a new IBM Cloud Computing Specialty umbrella program open to all types of IBM partners, and a new Software Value Plus Cloud Computing Authorization, specifically designed for resellers of IBM software. From what I understand, IBM Business Partners played an essential role in defining these programs, as well as their benefits, including opportunities to network with each other and get closer to IBM and to our cloud strategy.
The first announcement, the IBM Cloud Computing Specialty
, is a single program that will create the IT industry's broadest ecosystem of companies working to provide a comprehensive set of cloud computing services and offerings for clients of all sizes and industries. It provides all IBM Business Partners with support for their growth through cloud and helps them work closely with IBM to achieve that growth.
The IBM Cloud Computing Specialty will support five paths or company types for IBM Business Partners that demonstrate proven expertise and customer success in cloud computing:
- Cloud Application Providers: deliver business applications via a subscription model through the cloud, such as Software as a Service
- Cloud Builders: design, build and manage clients' cloud needs, typically integrating with the existing infrastructure and public, private and hybrid clouds
- Cloud Infrastructure Providers: provide a public cloud infrastructure or Platform as a Service on which application providers and companies can host their offerings
- Cloud Services Solution Providers: resell multiple public cloud services and offer complementary services, such as training and integration
- Cloud Technology Providers: Provide tools, services and technologies -- such as cloud management, bill metering and monitoring -- that help clients use the cloud more effectively
Qualified IBM Business Partners that demonstrate proven skills and market success will have access to a wide range of IBM cloud computing sales and marketing enablement resources to help them build, market and sell cloud computing solutions. Other benefits include:
- Use of the IBM Cloud Computing Specialty "mark" to help raise the visibility and credibility of expert cloud capabilities
- An assigned IBM relationship manager to provide day-to-day support
- Expanded use of LotusLive, enabling partners to more fully demonstrate how their offerings use IBM cloud technologies
- Networking opportunities within the cloud specialty ecosystem, including invitations to IBM Cloud Computing Specialty receptions at IBM and industry conferences
- And more! (Click here for a full list)
While the IBM Cloud Computing Specialty focuses on top cloud partners of all types, the Cloud Computing Authorization
is an extension of the IBM Software Value Plus program
for IBM's software partners that have built and demonstrated specialty skills, and then receive financial incentives as resellers of IBM's software portfolio. IBM Business Partners that meet the program requirements, for example, passing two cloud computing certification tests, providing a cloud offering that includes multiple IBM technologies, and demonstrating successful client implementations, are able to sell a broad range of cloud computing offerings. They are then eligible for benefits such as:
- Up to 15% in additional financial incentives through the Software Value Incentive program
- Use of the IBM Cloud Computing Authorization "mark" to help raise the visibility and credibility of expert cloud capabilities
- Priority cloud computing lead pass consideration
- Opportunities to attend joint planning meetings with IBM sales teams