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IBM is counting on its solution provider partners to increase the channel's share of hardware sales in 2013 after that share declined several points last year.
IBM Systems and Technology Group (STG) executives, speaking at the company's PartnerWorld Leadership Conference in Las Vegas Wednesday, outlined plans to boost partner incentives for STG sales and devote more resources to assisting partners and generating leads.
"From a financial performance standpoint, we did have a very challenging year for STG," Adkins, senior vice president of IBM's STG said in a keynote speech, noting that STG revenue in 2012 was down 5 percent to $17.7 billion. The channel accounted for only 53 percent of that revenue, down two points from 2011. And, in the fourth quarter, the channel share fell to 50 percent.
"Frankly, that went in the wrong direction," he said. "What I'm looking for is a higher percentage of partner participation," Adkins said, setting a goal of the channel accounting for 57 percent of this year's STG sales.
The channel has traditionally accounted for nearly 60 percent of STG sales.
IBM has taken other steps to boost STG sales. Last month, the company signed distribution deals with Tech Data and Ingram Micro to carry IBM's Power line of servers and related storage systems.
In an exclusive interview with CRN following his keynote, Adkins said he believes customer engagements are becoming more complex as buyers demand more complete IT solutions with integrated hardware and software and with more built-in intelligence.
That market change was a critical factor behind the decision to move IBM's channel organization closer to STG, with Mark Hennessy, general manager of IBM Global Business Partners, reporting to Adkins instead of to IBM's top sales and distribution executive.