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Donohue outlined a number of initiatives IBM has undertaken to help partners transition to these new, emerging areas. Through the IBM PartnerWorld program, for example, IBM offers market intelligence, co-marketing funding, and sales support and tools. To help partners develop needed skills, IBM runs boot camps and other training opportunities in cloud computing, social media and other technology areas. And financial incentives and global financing assistance help channel partners increase their profits in these new markets.
Donohue also stressed IBM's commitment to lead with channel partners in the midmarket, which Donohue said is the fastest growing part of the vendor's business.
To back up Donohue's pledges, John Alday, president of Cima Solutions Group, a Lewisville, Texas–based IBM partner, took the stage to describe how IBM helped Cima -- which Alday said had once been a classic VAR -- expand into cloud computing and develop a managed services business with recurring revenue. "We leaned heavily on IBM to guide us through that," Alday said.
Donohue also pointed to the IBM PureSystems line of converged infrastructure systems, which the company launched earlier this year, as the kinds of products the company is developing to penetrate these new solution areas. PureSystems includes the PureFlex infrastructure system and PureApplication platform for running applications.