IBM Builds Services, Offers Partner Certifications Around Software Acquisitions

The "Smarter Commerce" initiative is targeted toward what IBM said is a $70 billion market for IT hardware, software and services. "You can see a lot of partner opportunity in that $70 billion," said Craig Hayman, general manager of IBM industry solutions.

The new practice is built around IBM's 2010 acquisitions of ecommerce software vendor Sterling Commerce for $1.4 billion, interactive marketing application developer Unica for $480 million and Web analytics software vendor Coremetrics. (IBM did not disclose the acquisition price of Coremetrics at the time, but presumably was upwards of $600 million, given the $2.5 billion figure the company cited this week.)

Hayman said the new consulting services built around those applicationswould help businesses adapt to today's marketplace that's been transformed by the Web and social networks. "This is the age of the empowered consumer," he said.

The combination of the new consulting services, the acquired technologies and IBM's WebSphere Commerce platform will help businesses capture information about consumers, better understand what they value and how best to engage with them, Hayman said.

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IBM has created a new Enterprise Marketing Management "authorization" or certification for channel partners under the Software Value Plus program that will allow solution providers to resell the Sterling Commerce, Unica, Coremetrics and WebSphere Commerce applications. That training program is slated to be available in the second quarter.

"Resellers and partners are a big part of this strategy," Hayman said. The acquired companies each had their own channel partner programs, which Hayman said are still operating, but are being integrated into IBM's PartnerWorld channel program over time.