IBM Software Partners To Get Deal Registration

The goal of the program, which will segment those partners who identify, who develop and who fulfill deals, is to eliminate channel conflict and assure that every participant in a given deal be paid for it, sources said.

The company is expected to detail the news later this week in advance of its annual PartnerWorld event in Las Vegas starting Sunday.

IBM has had similar deal registration procedures in place on the hardware side of the house, but not for its DB2, Lotus, WebSphere, Tivoli, and Rational software brands.

One partner familiar with the plan is cautiously optimistic. "Directionally, this could be very good news for us," he noted.

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If implemented correctly, it would mean smaller VARs would get compensated for finding and bringing an opportunity to market even if software licenses are fulfilled through a large account reseller.

Large account resellers have blasted IBM Software in recent years for apparently favoring smaller VARs serving SMB accounts over large licensing specialists that fulfill software sales and perform software asset management in enterprise accounts.

IBM would not comment for this story.

IBM must learn that partners run the gamut from very high value-add VARs that customize software and hold hands in small business accounts to large account partners that deal mostly in license and asset management and keeping customers legal, partners said.

"IBM would say -- correctly -- that they've invested millions into the channel, but there are a couple of big caveats. One is that many of those dollars flowed right through to the customers [in the form of discounts]," one partner said. "You can't treat multi-billion-dollar worldwide resellers the same way you treat a local guy covering law firms in Milwaukee," he said.

This new program is a step in the right direction of recognizing these different channel types and rewarding each player in a deal appropriately, sources said.

Deal registration is not new to the industry. Oracle has touted its own "opportunity registration" system for years. As with any program, the devil's in the details of implementation.

CRAIG ZARLEY contributed to this story.