IBM Enlists Partners In Mission To Create A Smarter Planet

"You'll see from IBM a lot of things that are changing the world. The world is about to get a whole lot smarter," said Rich Michos, vice president of channel strategy at IBM, during a keynote this week at XChange Tech Innovators in Las Vegas, a conference run by parent company Everything Channel. "But for you, the question is, how does this relate to the technology we're developing and how does it relate to your business and how can it help you grow?"

IBM believes that growth areas in the coming years are generally well understood -- virtualization, services and cloud computing were three areas of opportunity highlighted by Michos. But what might be less well-known is that IBM is betting that midmarket companies adopt cloud-based solutions faster than enterprises.

"That's why we're putting more resources into helping our midmarket partners. We are admitting that the expertise in the midmarket is with you, not with us," he said. "Partners are driving 89 percent of our midmarket revenue."

Michos said IBM has made financing more available to its Business Partners in that effort, suggesting that "if you go into a deal and include financing at the outset, the odds of closing that deal increase two-fold."

Sponsored post

Other changes at IBM include a reduction of channel promotions in particular countries from as many as 40 in any given quarter to just five, while on the technology front, Michos said that at IBM, "we like to eat out own cooking." To wit -- IBM has managed to reduce its global data centers from 155 to five, using its own consolidation and cloud computing formulas.

That effort has also reduced the number of applications running at IBM from 16,000 to 4,500, and represents a savings of $1.5 billion for the computing giant.

The upshot for solution providers, Michos said, is that while the IT landscape is evolving quickly, providing end-to-end solutions that address the changing needs of customers is "what you folks know how to do."

"This is right in your wheelhouse," he said.