IBM Brings Channel Into PartnerWorld Industry Networks Fold

PartnerWorld Industry Networks was originally designed to bring ISVs into the IBM Business Partner fold, but the new plan opens it up to the entire IBM Business Partner community, including VARs, consultants and systems integrators.

"We are trying to bring everything into a single point of convergence," said Donn Atkins, IBM's general manager of Global Business Partners. "[Industry Networks] is available to all partner types."

In addition, the Armonk, N.Y.-based IT giant is organizing its PartnerWorld Industry Networks around specific verticals. The public-sector market is the first out of the gate with a program called Public Sector Edge. Alex Gogh, IBM's vice president of marketing, Global Public Sector, said the market--spanning the government, health care, life sciences and education segments--was chosen because it's the largest vertical, with a 5 percent annual growth rate.

The strategy is to focus all marketing resources from IBM related to the public sector in one program and one Web portal, according to Gogh.

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"PartnerWorld Industry Networks was originally an ISV introduction," he said. "In 18 months in PartnerWorld Industry Networks, we have grown the government, health care and life sciences to over 1,500 ISVs."

With Public Sector Edge, however, the concept has been expanded to include solution providers and regional integrators, Gogh noted.

"This is a global announcement that leverages our partner community," he said. "Partners who are dealing with a local government opportunity are looking for an ISV or a solution provider that has a unique capability. This expands our opportunity to team."

Joe Mertens, executive vice president of Sirius Computer Solutions, an IBM partner in San Antonio, said Public Sector Edge is a breakthrough that will help Sirius partner on opportunities in government, education and health care.