IBM To VARs: Services Are Secret To Success - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Mobile // Mobile Applications
Commentary
2/15/2011
03:37 PM
Michele Warren
Michele Warren
Commentary
50%
50%

IBM To VARs: Services Are Secret To Success

IBM has a message for its channel partners: Sell services! It's not exactly a new message, but it's an important one, and the vendor is putting more muscle behind it than ever before.

IBM has a message for its channel partners: Sell services! It's not exactly a new message, but it's an important one, and the vendor is putting more muscle behind it than ever before.At the vanguard of IBM's services "movement" is Bob Hoey, general manager of Global Technology Services, General Business. He focuses on the company's midmarket customers--those with 1,000 employees or fewer--and the solution providers that serve them.

Truth be told, IBM would like a (much) bigger piece of the services pie than it's currently getting. According to IDC and other analyst firms, global tech services constitute a $450B market (yes, that's billion). Hoey says IBM has managed to capture only about 10% of that space, and the key to getting more is empowering the channel. "We've been pushing services for a few years now, but we just haven't executed well enough in the market," Hoey says. "We need to help partners understand our offerings. And we need to give them the resources they need to be profitable when it comes to selling services."

One such resource that solution providers are clamoring for is training. "As our partners continue to shift away from hardware and toward services, they'll need to recruit people with diagnostic and consultative skills. They'll need deeper industry expertise, too, and getting this kind of talent is going to cost more money," Hoey says. "Partners are asking how long they're going to be in a negative cash flow situation as they invest in this business transformation. It's going to be probably anywhere from 6 to 18 months, but we can reduce the investment they have to make by training their teams."

Hoey says IBM is working hard to get the message out to its partners. He and other IBM execs are meeting with partners this week, at the vendor's PartnerWorld Leadership Conference, and conversations will continue well into the new year. "We're especially eager to share success stories," Hoey says. "What better way to demonstrate the promise of selling services profitably than to provide examples of channel players who are making it work?"

Within the services arena, IBM has defined a few high-growth areas that partners may want to focus on: cloud computing, security, and analytics. The cloud space is expected to grow at a clip of 25 to 30% year over year, and Hoey says opportunity abounds for IBM--to implement private clouds, deploy and support hybrid cloud environments, sell capacity for an IBM-built public cloud, etc. In the security space, customers with a fiduciary responsibility to protect client data are approaching IBM for solutions. And as for analytics…well, what vertical space isn't looking to extract more value from its data stores?

"There's definitely a mindset change taking place in the partner community," Hoey says. "The channel is seeing that services aren't just a way to sell more product. They're stand-alone profit generators. But we need to help solution providers take the leap, and do it successfully."

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
News
COVID-19: Using Data to Map Infections, Hospital Beds, and More
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  3/25/2020
Commentary
Enterprise Guide to Robotic Process Automation
Cathleen Gagne, Managing Editor, InformationWeek,  3/23/2020
Slideshows
How Startup Innovation Can Help Enterprises Face COVID-19
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  3/24/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
IT Careers: Tech Drives Constant Change
Advances in information technology and management concepts mean that IT professionals must update their skill sets, even their career goals on an almost yearly basis. In this IT Trend Report, experts share advice on how IT pros can keep up with this every-changing job market. Read it today!
Slideshows
Flash Poll