IBM Expands Business Partner Initiative with New Cloud Channel Offering

IBM is aligning its fast-growing business partner initiative for Smarter Commerce with a new channel offering to drive increased software-as-a-service (SaaS) sales, arming business partners with the ability to provide customers with quick access to IBM business solutions on the cloud.

Business partners are looking to expand their capabilities to more effectively fulfill client demands brought on by new online buying patterns driven by social networking and mobile computing trends.

This new fast start offering accelerates cloud adoption by encouraging new partner business models, such as cloud services solution providers, to incorporate Smarter Commerce SaaS capabilities into their solutions. Based on extensive partner feedback, IBM will trial new offerings designed to enhance the partners’ skill sets while minimising the steps required to sell cloud-based solutions, as well as provide protection for partner investments. Initial offerings to be launched in a pilot in the coming months will include web analytics in enterprise market management and business-to-business connectivity in commerce.

IBM will call for further expansion of the Smarter Commerce community at the Smarter Commerce Global Summit conference, including deeper engagement with venture capital firms, independent software vendors, value added distributors, value-added resellers, systems integrators and other Business Partners.

IBM’s Smarter Commerce for Business Partners makes it easier and more cost effective to help partners enable their customers to embrace Smarter Commerce. With this initiative, IBM is investing in its ecosystem of partners, delivering the right skills, technical support, development resources, and industry expertise that will allow partners to be successful. The IBM Software Value Plus Smarter Commerce Capability Authorization is being offered to the hundreds of partners who have attended Smarter Commerce events. Newly authorized partners include CrossView, Zobrist Consulting Group, Rosetta Marketing Group, 20:20 Technology, Sirius Computing Solutions, Trifecta Technologies and Perficient.

“Smarter Commerce represents a new playing field for IBM business partners and gives us a huge opportunity to compete for commerce, online and off-line,” said Teresa Zobrist, CEO of Zobrist Consulting. “As an authorized Smarter Commerce Business Partner, we can now address every aspect of commerce from multi-channel marketing, merchandising, analytics, storefront, warehousing, fulfillment, supply-chain to help our customers truly optimise their business processes to be competitive in the global marketplace. IBM is the only company that has the vision and the execution power for Smarter Commerce. We are grateful to be an integral part of the strategy.”

Smarter commerce imperatives are also bringing non-traditional information technology (IT) buyers, such as marketing officers and procurement executives, into pivotal roles that are supported by Smarter Commerce. Through its acquisitions of Coremetrics, Sterling Commerce and Unica, IBM has gained a large subset of business partners focused on SaaS/cloud offerings to these emerging decision-makers. This new commerce business partner ecosystem adds more than 500 companies to IBM’s existing global partner base.

“More valuable opportunities are open to CrossView as a result of the Smarter Commerce Capability – larger sales, the opportunity to serve more retailers with truly innovative technology,” says, Mark Fodor, Chief Executive Officer, CrossView, Inc. “This kind of advantage is very powerful. It translates into more business, greater value delivered, more robust solutions, and a chance to help our customers transform.”

IBM’s Smarter Commerce initiative delivers software and services to help companies transform their business processes to more quickly respond to shifting customer demands in today’s digitally transformed marketplace. The Smarter Commerce market opportunity is estimated at $20 billion for software alone and growing at 14 percent (source: IBM Market Analysis “The Era of Smarter Planet,” 2Q11) with some estimates ranging much higher for the total information technology marketplace.

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